If you suffer personal injury due to another party’s negligence in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, or Arkansas, you have the right to receive compensation from the at-fault party. What happens if you receive a settlement but find later that it’s not enough – can you file a personal injury lawsuit after accepting a settlement? The answer is yes, but only under certain conditions.
Our lawyers at Morris Bart have years of experience handling these types of cases and can provide you with legal assistance through this challenging time. We want to help you get the best compensation possible for your damages. Contact us today to learn more about all of your legal options.
The Conditions Under Which a Lawsuit Can Be Filed After a Settlement Agreement
In normal circumstances, once a release form is signed by all parties in agreement with the amount of the settlement, this ends all further action from any of the parties. Signing the release form signifies that you are accepting the settlement offer and will not pursue any other avenues to seek compensation against the insurance company or the parties that caused the injuries.
However, there may be some conditions that will allow you to pursue personal injury litigation if it can be determined that the settlement offer agreement terms were unfair or confusing, the other party has violated the settlement agreement or the settlement terms were agreed upon because of coercion, deception or fraud.
You Can Pursue a Lawsuit if the Settlement Agreement’s Terms Were Ambiguous or Unethical
If you didn’t fully understand the terms of a settlement agreement because the terms were overly broad or confusing, this can be grounds to have a court look at it and either void the entire agreement or void just the controversial provisions. This is especially true if all or part of the agreement was unfair.
You Can Pursue a Case if There Has Been a Violation of the Agreement
Most settlement agreements include what is allowed to happen or penalties and fees that have to be paid if either party violates the legal obligations under the settlement agreement. This means that a course of action is usually included in the settlement agreement that the violated party can follow to recoup damages. Depending on the state, a separate lawsuit may have to be filed to obtain damages incurred from the violation of the settlement agreement.
For example, in Louisiana, if the other party refuses to pay under the terms of the settlement agreement, a Rule to Enforce the Settlement Agreement can be filed with a trial court. The trial court can then determine if the violating party is required to pay.
You Can Pursue a Lawsuit if the Settlement’s Terms Were Agreed Upon Under Fraud or Duress
A court may be willing to void a settlement agreement if it can be proven that you signed the agreement not knowing it was constructed in a deceitful way or the other party acted in bad faith by forcing you to sign it. Some examples of actions of deceitfulness that can void a settlement agreement are:
- Withholding material facts
- Agreeing with the intent to violate it
Proving these circumstances can be a daunting task, but if you find yourself in this situation, talk to a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations in Louisiana
A statute of limitations puts limits on the amount of time allowed for a personal injury lawsuit to be filed. Keeping in mind this deadline is important when negotiating a settlement. If you find you’re not happy with the insurance company’s settlement offer, you can use filing a personal injury lawsuit as a negotiating tactic to get a better settlement outcome or file a lawsuit if you’re not happy with the settlement offer at all. But, this has a better chance of success if the lawsuit can be filed, if needed, well within the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations starts on the day the incident occurred causing your injury. For example, in Louisiana, according to La. Civ. Code. Art. 3492, the statute of limitations is 1 year from the date of the incident, while in Arkansas and Mississippi, the statute of limitations is 3 years. For Alabama, it’s 2 years.
Some exceptions can extend the statute of limitations. These exceptions include:
- The person injured is a minor.
- The person injured is mentally debilitated.
- The party that allegedly caused the personal injury and is being sued left the state for a certain amount of time after the incident.
What You Should Know About Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
While you are waiting for a settlement offer, it would be wise to proceed with steps that will prepare for a personal injury lawsuit if the settlement is not sufficient or a lawsuit has to be filed after the settlement agreement. Here are courses of action to take to prepare for a personal injury lawsuit:
- Seek medical treatment. This will provide documentation of your medical injuries and provide a treatment plan for recovery and the costs associated with that.
- Seek legal representation. An experienced attorney can guide you to the best outcome possible.
- Collect evidence, such as surveillance videos, personal videos, pictures, witness testimonies, accident or police reports, expert statements, or medical documentation of injuries.
- Calculate compensatory damages available to you. In addition to medical computations, there are losses to your career and finances to be considered as well.
Get Help with Your Personal Injury Settlement or Lawsuit
A personal injury can leave you with thousands of dollars in debt and lasting physical injuries that can severely impact the way you live your life. It is essential to ensure that you get justice and compensation for what happened.
You should not have to suffer due to a personal injury caused by the negligence of other parties. At Morris Bart, we have compassion for all victims of personal injury. We want to help you get fair compensation for your pain and damages. Contact us to schedule a free consultation about your personal injury case in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Arkansas.
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