When and How to Reopen a Car Accident Claim for a New Perspective?

If you were the victim of a car accident, you most likely went through the process of filing a car accident claim and have received a settlement. Unfortunately, for many people, this process may feel rushed as you may have been pressured by the insurance company to accept a settlement and close your case as fast as possible. If this happened to you, you may be wondering if you can reopen a settled car accident case in the hopes of getting a better settlement.

At NBF Accident Law, our Washington auto accident attorneys will help you navigate the process of reopening a car accident case to get a fresh perspective. We will help you decide on the best path to take, represent your case, and gather crucial evidence.

Can You Reopen a Settled Car Accident Case?

Can I reopen a car accident case? If this is a question you are asking, the answer isn’t always straightforward. For most cases, a settled car accident case is considered final and isn’t something you can reopen.

There are very specific situations where you may be able to reopen a settled car accident case to get a better settlement or have new evidence examined. However, this is not something you can do if you are simply dissatisfied with how much compensation you received from the original settlement.

When You Should Reopen a Car Accident Case

Even though it is not common for people to be able to reopen a closed car accident case, there are situations where this may be an option. The first thing you need to do before looking into your options is to find out if you signed a release. A release is a document that says you agree that your claim is completely resolved and you have given up your right to file suit against the insurer.

If you did sign a release, it would be much more difficult to reopen your case, but there may still be one or two avenues you can take to do this.

The Insurance Company Acted in Bad Faith

The most common situation that allows you to reopen a car accident claim is if the insurance company acted in bad faith. Even though insurance companies are motivated to get you to agree to the lowest settlement possible, they have a duty to treat you fairly and handle your case in good faith. Because of this, if the insurer acted in bad faith and you can prove this, you may be able to reopen your car accident case.

Here are some examples of how an insurance company could have acted in bad faith:

  • They harassed, pressured, bullied, or tricked you into accepting a settlement offer.
  • They refused to negotiate on the compensation amount.
  • They purposefully misinterpreted facts or provisions of the policy.
  • They did not promptly or thoroughly investigate your claim.
  • They unfairly accused you of wrongdoing during the claims process.
  • They did not consistently communicate with you.
  • They purposefully delayed the processing of your claim.

If your attorney can prove that the insurer acted in bad faith, you can sue the insurer for the purpose of getting compensation to replace your financial losses. In some situations, this may not necessarily reopen your initial car accident case but it can present you with the option of opening a new one.

Additional At-Fault Parties

Some car accidents involve more than one at fault parties, which presents the option of suing more than one person. Filing a claim against one negligent driver does not mean that you cannot file a second claim with the other driver if you are unhappy with your settlement.

There is New Evidence

In some situations, finding new evidence may be enough to get a car accident case reopened. For this to apply, it has to be evidence that you or your attorney could not have known about when you first filed the claim. A good example of this is if you were injured in a car accident, and your injuries have become much more substantial over time, creating the need for a larger settlement.

There Was a Clerical Error in the Agreement

Small clerical errors have the potential to impact your settlement agreement, which could create the option for getting a car accident claim reopened. The clerical error would need to be substantial enough that it could impact your settlement agreement, such as if the settlement amount was misprinted. It is unlikely that you could have your case reopened for very small errors, such as typos.

Why You Need the Help of a Car Accident Attorney

If you are wondering if you can reopen a settled car accident case, you need to seek the assistance of a car accident attorney. An attorney can help you evaluate your case to decide if reopening it is even a possibility and, if it is, assist you in finding the best avenue to take.

A car accident attorney can help you find new pieces of evidence that could qualify your case for reopening or uncover proof that the insurance company acted in bad faith. If there are additional at-fault parties, your attorney can help you file additional claims so that you can get more than one settlement. Your attorney will also handle all communication with the insurance companies, so there is no risk of you being rushed or bullied into accepting an unfair offer.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney at NBF Accident Law

As crucial as it is to quickly file a car accident claim so that you can start the process of receiving compensation, the last thing you want to do is rush this process. Not taking the time to evaluate your options can result in you feeling unhappy with the settlement you receive. Because of this, you may need to reopen your car accident case later and have the circumstances and the evidence reevaluated.

At NBF Accident Law, our goal is to achieve the best possible results for victims of car accidents, especially if you believe you are entitled to a larger settlement. We will help you navigate this complex process and present new evidence that can influence your case.

Contact us today at 206-923-8888 to schedule a consultation with one of our car accident attorneys in Washington.