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Can a Personal Injury Case Ever Be Reopened?

Published on Aug 6, 2019 by Thomas Law Offices.

In most situations, a personal injury case cannot be reopened once a settlement has been reached. If the personal injury case went to trial, however, the way the case was closed determines whether or not it can be reopened. If a judge closes a case without prejudice, it can be reopened. But most personal injury cases do not go to trial. The majority are settled outside of court through negotiations. Understanding how settlements work will affect your ability to reopen a case.

Signing a Release of Liability

A Release of Liability Form is a legal document between two parties. The Releasor, typically the injured party, is the person promising not to sue after the agreement has been signed. The other party, the Releasee, is the at-fault person or entity. Other names for this document include Conditional and Unconditional Waiver Form, General Waiver, Legal Release, Waiver of Liability Agreement, and Liability Waiver Form.

In addition to the parties involved, there are other basic elements a simple liability form will identify. There will be a description of the event and the effective date for when the agreement starts. Additionally, a consideration will be listed. This is the amount of compensation promised in return for signing the document. If you work with the right lawyer, the amount of money you receive will be full and fair, as it should pay for all the losses you incurred as a result of your accident, including any future costs. Finally, the governing laws will be included. These are the laws that will be used to resolve any disagreements between the two parties.

If your personal injury claim settles before going to trial, it’s likely a Release of Liability will pop up. If you sign this form as the Releasor, you agree to not sue the Releasee for past or future injuries or losses, while understanding the risks. If, at a later time, you discover other injuries or losses related to your accident, a Release of Liability prevents you from taking further legal action.

Accidents Involving Multiple At-Fault Parties

When an accident was the fault of multiple parties, it’s important to work with a lawyer to hold all responsible persons or entities responsible for your injuries, financial difficulties, and emotional suffering. If you file multiple claims, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions of settlement. If you settle with one party and sign a Release of Liability, it’s you’ll want to ensure that form does not prevent you from taking legal action against the other at-fault party.

Reopening a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Kentucky

Unlike the majority of personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims in Kentucky can be reopened unless you specifically waive your right to future compensation when you initially reach settlement. There are limitations and difficulties associated with reopening a claim, however. While there is no limit to the number of times a workers’ comp claim can be reopened, the reopening must happen within a four-year limitation period. This period starts the last time benefits were granted or denied.

Reopening a workers’ comp case can be challenging because of the problems with proof. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to prove a worsening condition is tied to the initial work injury. With the right lawyer, who will call on a medical expert to support your claim, you’ll be able to receive the benefits you need.

The Importance of Working with a Lawyer Early On

Even if it seems like your accident was cut and dry, the litigation process is complicated. If you choose to take on the matter yourself, you may end up with less than you deserve and no way to recover fully. That’s why it’s crucial to work with an experienced lawyer as early on in the process as possible.

When you work with one of our attorneys– regardless of whether your incident took place in Kentucky or in Illinois— we’ll handle the difficult paperwork and negotiations for you. Through a thorough investigation, we’ll determine what you’re owed for your losses. This way, when it comes to negotiations and settlement, the at-fault party won’t be able to claim you’re owed less. We will only advise you to sign something like a Release of Liability if we feel what you’re being offered is fair. If a settlement isn’t possible, we’re not afraid to take your case to trial. This will ensure you’re not taken advantage of in any way.

As you can see, reopening a personal injury case is rarely possible. Because of this, it’s critical to work with a lawyer so you’re not left with expenses and losses you can’t cover. If you’ve been in an accident, contact our law firm to learn about your legal rights and options.

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At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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