Visitor Question

Can I re-open my case due to further treatment needs?

Submitted By: Lorenza (Ventnor City, New Jersey)

I had a slip and fall in a store in 2011, and injured my lower back. I hired a lawyer, had 6 Months of physical therapy, and lost time at work (I’m a server for over 30 years). I had no back problems ever in my history. The case took over a year to settle, and I got a minimum settlement, equivalent to a month and half of what I earn.

I didn’t want to settle for that amount, but my lawyer said he couldn’t get more. I didn’t get any future pain and suffering. I am now having some problems at work.

I couldn’t get out of bed and had to literally crawl around for 3 days, while still having a young child at home to care for (I’m a single mother). My doctor ordered a chiropractor and more physical therapy, and possibly surgery. I was also ordered to cut down my days at work, which is impossible. I have a mortgage to pay, among other things.

The doctors even said I was going to continue to live with problems because of the slip and fall. That’s why I didn’t want to settle for that little amount. I let the lawyer convince me that’s all I could get from the department store where I fell.

The lawyer came to my job during a busy lunch hour, and said sign here, sign there, here’s the check, and it was over. I was busy and didn’t even know what I was reading. I didn’t have my reading glasses, and it was a 3 minute in and out.

Now I’m facing possible surgery down the road, I’m in pain all the time, with numbness in my feet, for going on 2 years now. I don’t know what to do. I have to work. Even though it’s very painful most of the time.

Disability insurance benefits won’t even be enough for my mortgage, among other things. So that would mean I would lose my house. I’m not saying my lawyer didn’t try, but then again, we didn’t communicate much. In my opinion, my case wasn’t a top priority. But that slip and fall has changed my life. I’m scared I won’t be able to work much longer.

After all that, I guess my question is, can I reopen my case? Perhaps because there are further related injuries that still need to be treated? Can I say my previous lawyer didn’t properly represent me interests? Thank you for listening, and for any information you can give me.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Lorenza,

When you accepted the settlement check, your attorney assuredly had you sign an insurance company release. Once the release was signed, you lost your legal right to sue the store in which you fell. The amount you ultimately received in your net settlement is the only amount you will receive from the store or its insurance company.

It is unfortunate your attorney didn’t communicate as well as you would have liked. With that said, if you didn’t have your reading glasses with you and were unable to read the documents, it was incumbent upon you to tell the lawyer to either leave the documents with you to read, or that you would come into his or her office within the next day or so to review the documents and have the attorney answer any questions you may have had.

From the facts you present, your attorney doesn’t appear to have acted inappropriately. It appears your attorney acted expeditiously in bringing you the check and accompanying documents. However, if you would like to speak with another attorney about the possibility of legal malpractice, that’s always an option.

Learn more here: Other Personal Injury Case Types

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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One comment on “Can I re-open my case due to further treatment needs?

  1. Lord says:

    My attorney did in fact act negligently. I made him aware I was in no condition to sign any release. I was under influence of medications. I asked to bring release papers home to look over and was basically told I couldn’t. The assistant​ forcibly read it to me incorrectly. I have proof, my daughter was present. I also have paperwork emails and texts between myself and attorney with regards to this very incident, as well as recordings of all meetings and phone calls for my own personal records, proving my attorney acted unethically for over 3 yrs.

    I suffered permanent injuries on my building property I believe my case was handled very poorly on purpose due to my property management involvement with many state and local offices and officials.

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