When an injury come back years after an accident is it too late to file a claim? 30 Answers as of October 09, 2012

My niece was in a car accident four years ago and broke her neck. She received a settlement check and her medicals bill were paid for. She is experiencing some pain in her neck again and she doesn't have insurance right now. Can she have her medical bills paid for if it is proven that the neck pain she is experiencing is from the same accident? How would that work?

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Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
Unfortunately, generally speaking, no. When a settlement is reached, a settlement agreement is signed and in that agreement it will state it is a full and final settlement and that it releases the people paying the settlement from all liability for known and unknown claims which includes future medical bills or pain and suffering arising from the same injuries.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/9/2012
Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
If the old injury ius settled and closed they don't have to pay anything now.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 10/8/2012
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
It is most unlikely that she could file a new claim. Usually, when you settle your claim, you sign an agreement waiving any right to sue for additional damages. In 20 years of practice, I have never seen a case where someone could go back for more after settling the case.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 10/8/2012
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
If the accident happened in Michigan, and if the doctor says that this is a sequels of the accident, your niece's auto insurance will cover it, for life.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/8/2012
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
Regrettably, when she excepted the settlement there is no going back. All future medical needs are at her expense.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/8/2012
    Burnett Evans Banks
    Burnett Evans Banks | Paul Evans
    When your niece received a settlement check, she would have signed a "release". Typically, such releases are "full and final", where the claimant releases the wrongdoer from any and all damages caused to the claimant whether, known, unknown, future, contingent, incidental, consequential, or of any other sort whatsoever. In other words, there is no going back to get more recovery once the matter is settled. Have your niece look at the release she signed at the time. If, at the time, there was any indication that future medicals would be an issue, an experienced and competent lawyer would have "carved out" an exception in the release for such possibilities. Just one more reason why it is so important for an injured person to have skilled legal counsel of their own when going up against insurance companies.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law Office of Alan H. Segal
    Law Office of Alan H. Segal | Alan H. Segal
    Unfortunately, once you settle a case, it is over. I am sure that your niece would have signed a release for all past and future claims.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    If you have a settlement check then THAT'S IT! Why do you want to sue again? You should have taken FUTURE pain and suffering into account when you ACCEPTED the original check. Did you have an attorney?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Not if she settled case and released other party.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    She accepted a settlement and that is an "accord and satisfaction". That means you can no longer sue that party and signed a release.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Bozich & Korn | Joseph A. Korn
    No, unfortunately once a claim is settled, that is the end of it. Typically after an agreement is reached, you will need to sign a release before you receive a check. That release usually states that it covers all claims brought or which relate in any way to the event in question.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    No, once you settle a case/claim you settle all claims for all injuries known or unknown.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Your niece should consult with a plaintiff's personal injury lawyer for specific legal advice. If she signed a release,?she may be precluded from seeking relief with a new claim.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    She likely signed a full release when she received the funds. The funds were designed to include any future pain. Any future medical. I assume she had some percentage of permanency when she settled and if so all that was supposed to be considered by her at the time. That is the whole purpose of a release, that is, to conclude matters for once and for all.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Wild Sky Law Group, PLLC
    Wild Sky Law Group, PLLC | Roxanne Eberle
    If your niece received a settlement, she (or an adult on her behalf if she was a minor) likely signed a release. The only way I see that the claim could be re-opened is if she was a minor at the time and the settlement was not approved by the Court. If that is the case, you should contact a lawyer to help you re-open her claim.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    You used the phrase "settlement check". Unless unique arrangements were made for her, that means that all claims are released, known or unknown. When negotiating a settlement, we take into account that any injury could flair-up sometime in the future.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    Unfortunately, the SOL is 2 years. Also b/c she received a settlement, she cannot ask for another settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    Probably not. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit from a car accident in KS is two years. Also, if she already received a settlement she likely also signed a release which prevents any further claims against the insurance company or responsible driver arising from the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    She is probably out of luck due to settlement and?the statute of limitations.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    Most people sign a document called a "Release and Hold Harmless" agreement when they settle a claim. The document almost always puts an end to the claim in its entirety. The law favors finality.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Law Offices of David M. Blain
    Law Offices of David M. Blain | David Blain
    There are two issues at play here. The first is something called the Statute of Limitations. A Statute of Limitations is a rule of law that says a lawsuit must be filed within a specific period of time, and if not file within that time period then the aggrieved party is forever barred from bringing suit. There are many nuances and exceptions to this rule and different time periods are assigned to different types of actions. You need to speak with an attorney about the applicable Statute of Limitations in your niece's case. The date of the accident, whether your niece is a minor or adult and the state where the accident occurred are three huge facts that will determine what the limitations period is. However, the second issue may render the Statute of Limitations analysis moot. Based solely on the fact that your niece has received a settlement for her injuries, she is likely forever barred from suing the Released party for her injuries. That's one of the things the settlement money bought for the released party. When a lawsuit or a claim is brought (or even threatened to be brought) and the defendant (or the defendant's insurance company) offers a settlement, then a release agreement is generally signed. Within that agreement is a clause or language that forever releases the defendant from future liability for causing the alleged injury. That's standard language in any Release Agreement. I feel badly for your niece, it sounds like she is in a lot of pain. Although her case is likely time barred and has already been decided via the settlement, it still may be a wise idea to discuss the particulars of your case with a local attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer | Ryan D. Harris
    Typically, when cases are "settled" the settlement includes any and all damages and injuries, including future injuries that may arise; however, it would be impossible to answer your question correctly without actually reviewing the settlement documents. I would strongly urge you to contact an attorney right away to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    She undoubtedly had to sign a release in order to receive a settlement check so she could not come back for more money.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Not if she signed a release of all claims. The amount she settled for should have been enough to cover future medical costs, or the release would state that future medical complications are covered. Read the release.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Arthur Hausmann | Arthur Hausmann
    Unfortunately in most cases she is out of luck. Unless she is able to reopen the case on the grounds of fraud, misrepresentation or the like, she will be unable to obtain additional funds.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    2 years and a day is too late.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
    Unfortunately when you settle the case the first time the release she executed provided that she settle all known and unknown injuries and therefore don't get another bite at the apple or companies would never settle if they had a continuing risk of having to pay more. That is the benefit of settlement they get closure.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC | Paul Schroeder
    In order to receive the settlement, it is likely she signed a release. The release would forever discharge claims against the defendant. Also, the statute of limitations in California for personal injury claims is 2 years, so your niece would be timed out, regardless.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2012
    Peacock Law Group of the Lowcountry, LLC | Richard Peacock
    In SC, probably not. There are several other facts that would need to be discussed with an attorney before any definite decision could be made. You should consult with a local attorney regarding this matter as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/5/2012
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