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Can a Car Accident Claim Be Reopened?

Written by Jared Staver

Read Jared's Bio

Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury


One of the challenges of dealing with a car accident insurance claim is the pressure to get everything done quickly. Partly, you feel this pressure yourself, since you want a settlement as soon as possible to deal with the bills. However, the insurer wants to settle your claim quickly too, and they know that pressuring you to accept an offer quickly means that they can offer you a lowball amount.

Unfortunately, you may not realize until later that your car accident claim was worth a lot more. The payout you accepted may not cover all of the medical bills. Nonetheless, you have already accepted a settlement. In some circumstances, you may be able to re-open your claim, but in many situations, you usually cannot.

To discuss your options after accepting an insurance settlement for car accident injuries, call our auto accident attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today. We can thoroughly review your case to determine your legal options. Call us at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free consultation.

Did You Sign a Release?

To receive a settlement payment, the insurer typically requires that you sign a release. This document says that you agree your claim is fully resolved and that you give up any right to file suit against the insurer. You are handing over your legal rights in exchange for a check. If the payment will fully cover your financial, physical, and emotional injuries, then this is a fair exchange. However, if it is a lowball offer, signing a release is not a good idea.

If you signed a release already, it is unlikely that you can reopen your claim. However, if you have not signed a release or any other documentation from the insurer yet, you should reach out a lawyer immediately.

Were Multiple People Involved in the Crash?

If you and at least one other individual were injured by a negligent driver, you will each have your own claim. The other crash victims may accept settlements and sign releases. However, these do not usually impact your claim. If you have not signed any type of release, you may still be able to negotiate the settlement amount.

You may be in a situation in which two other drivers were both at fault for your injuries. In this case, you may have a claim against each driver’s auto insurance policies. Accepting a settlement and signing a release with one insurer does not necessarily stop you from negotiating a settlement with the other insurer. This depends on how the claim is worded.

When you are involved in a car crash with multiple victims or more than one at-fault driver, you should have an experienced lawyer on your side. If you or another person involved already accepted a settlement, you should speak with an attorney now about your options.

Were You Lied to or Treated Unfairly by the Insurer?

Insurers have a duty to treat you fairly and handle your claim in good faith. If you learn that you were lied to or the insurer acted in bad faith, then you may have a new legal claim against the insurer.

Some examples of bad faith include:

  • The insurer knowingly misrepresented facts of the situation or provisions of the policy.
  • The insurer failed to promptly and properly investigate the claim.
  • The insurer delayed processing your claim, such as by forcing you to provide additional and repetitive documentation.
  • The insurer failed to promptly and consistently communicate with you.
  • The insurer unreasonable accused you of fraud or some wrongdoing during the claims process.
  • The insurer refused to negotiate the settlement amount.
  • The insurer harassed, bullied, pressured, or tricked you into accepting the low settlement offer.

If an attorney determines there is evidence of bad faith, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the insurer and seek compensation for your financial losses in relation to the mishandled claim.

A claim based on bad faith does not re-open your initial car accident claim. However, it can hold an insurer responsible if you were forced or tricked into walking away with an unreasonably low settlement.

A Lawyer Can Help

Realizing a settlement you accepted after a car accident is not enough can be devastating, particularly when you thought the insurer was treating you fairly or another attorney recommended it.

At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., our attorneys understand how difficult this time is for you. We can thoroughly review your situation to determine if you can re-open your case or have another legal claim against the insurer.

To learn about your options, contact us at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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