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Post-Settlement: What Are Your Options?

Do You Have Options?

One of the most important things to consider before settling an insurance claim is whether the amount compensates you for all your present and future damages. Because once you settle a claim and cash the check, your options are limited.

What Does It Mean to Settle?

When you agree to a settlement amount, you will be asked to sign a form that releases the defendant and the insurance company of further liability. Legally speaking, someone without liability does not owe you a dime. So if you have medical expenses come up after you settle, you most likely won’t be able to ask the insurance company for more money. If you have any hesitations about signing the settlement agreement, talk to an attorney before you do so. The settlement is not legally binding unless you sign it, so don’t rush into it.

An Exception

Once you settle, you won’t be able to ask for more money from the defendant or insurance company. The settlement agreement—once signed—is a legally binding contract. You can’t negotiate the terms of the settlement after signing either. The only exception is if you find a mistake or a legal error in the agreement. But you can’t ask for more money just to cover unexpected expenses.

Compensation from Multiple Parties

You might be able to seek more compensation if there is more than one liable party. If you settle with one party, you might be able to seek compensation from the other(s) provided that your settlement agreement does not release all parties from liability. Some car accidents involve more than one liable party. For example, damaged or poorly maintained roads are common contributors to accidents. Because these are in many cases the responsibility of the city or state, you might be able to hold one of these parties liable. Construction site accidents can also involve multiple liable parties as there are typically several contractors working on the same site.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush into settling your claim until you know the extent of your injuries and how long they will take to heal. Also, always have an Illinois personal injury claim attorney review your settlement offer before signing it. It’s crucial you thoroughly understand the terms of the settlement offer. It’s also very important to make sure the amount reflects your total present and future damages. An attorney can help you do both.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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