Can I renegotiate a settlement after signing the check?
I was in a car accident last week. I was moving at about 5mph when a guy rear ended me while doing 65mph. I wasn't taken in the ambulance but I went to my local urgent care a couple hours later. I had a minor concussion and severe neck and back pain.
The x-rays came back alright and the next day I saw my family doctor. She gave me meds for the pain and anxiety. The other driver's insurance company settled with a payment of $2000 and also paid me for the 2 days I missed work.
I signed for the settlement check but have not cashed it because it's now a week later and my back pain isn't getting any better. I've made a chiropractor appointment for tomorrow to see what they can do for me. Am I able to still get more money for my medical/chiropractic treatment and my pain and suffering? Can I reopen the claim? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Can I renegotiate a settlement after signing the check?":
It’s clear the driver's insurance company accepted liability for the negligence of their insured. Whether or not you are still entitled to reopen the injury claim will depend on whether or not you signed a release or indemnification agreement with the insurance company.
One or both of these documents may have been mailed or emailed to you prior to the issuance of the insurance company draft (check) or concurrent with your receipt of the draft.
If you signed one or both of these documents, then the claim will likely not be able to be reopened, especially if there was language in the documents stating if you negotiate (cash or deposit) the check, you fully release the insurance company and their insured from further liability.
Without seeing the language contained in the release or indemnification agreements, it's difficult to know if the documents had language stating your negotiating of the check or signing the indemnification agreement fully released the insurance company and their insured from further liability.
If however, you have not signed a release or indemnification agreement, or any other similar documents, and haven't negotiated the draft, the claim is technically still open. Here's how to counter a low settlement offer.
At that point, you can inform the insurance company you reject their last settlement offer. Tell them you want to continue negotiating the claim as a result of your continuing medical treatment for injuries sustained in the accident with their insured.
However, the insurance company has a right to take the position the claim is closed. If they do so, that does not not preclude you from filing a lawsuit against the insured for your injuries and related damages.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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