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reopen my auto accident case?

Like many people injured in car accidents, you may not experience pain or discomfort right after the accident, and you might not seek treatment. However, weeks or months down the line, you start to feel pain in your neck, back, or joints. Unfortunately, this chronic pain after an auto accident begins only after you’ve received an insurance check. Can you reopen your auto accident case after settlement?

If this situation is familiar to you, you have a few options.

How to Reopen Your Auto Accident Case After Settlement

PIP Insurance

All Floridians are required to have Personal Injury Insurance, AKA PIP Insurance,  as a part of their auto insurance policy. Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, each person’s PIP insurance covers costs of their own injuries. This can cover you up to either $2,500 or $10,000, depending on the severity of your injuries. However, you may still require treatment for chronic pain even after your PIP insurance runs out. Or an insurance adjuster may stop benefits, claiming you do not require any more treatment. In some cases, you can reopen your case after settlement, and in some cases you cannot.

If Your PIP Insurance Runs Out

If you reach your PIP insurance maximum, you have a few options. If another driver caused the accident, you can file a personal injury suit against them to reimburse you for the costs of your injuries, and your pain and suffering. If you don’t want to file a suit or you were at fault, you can shift your medical expenses to your medical coverage. Many of the same treatments covered by your auto policy will be covered by your medical coverage, though separate deductibles, copays, and out-of-pocket maximums will apply.

If Your PIP Insurance Stops

In some cases, a claims adjuster may stop or reduce PIP payments. This judgement may be based solely on your medical records and the adjuster might not consult you or your doctor. If this happens and you are still in pain, the previously mentioned options are available to you, and you may also reopen the case after settlement through a civil suit with your insurance provider. In this case, it will be especially important to document your injuries and treatments carefully.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

PIP insurance was originally designed to reduce the number of personal injury lawsuits in Florida courts. This was generally successful, though personal injury lawsuits are still allowed and, in some cases, necessary. If your damages and expenses exceed your PIP insurance, you can file a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver in the accident. In this case, the driver and their attorney will offer a settlement. At this point, you have a few options.

If I Accept the Settlement, Can I Reopen the Case?

Before accepting a settlement, you should get an accurate estimate of your injury costs, including treatments for chronic or long-term pain you may have. You should also work with a reputable attorney who has won personal injury auto accident cases in court. Keep in mind that only you can accept a settlement; your lawyer cannot accept a settlement on your behalf.

In this case, you cannot reopen your case after settlement. Make sure you accurately assess your injuries before agreeing to a settlement.

Should I Take My Case to Court?

If you are severely injured, the fault of the other driver is obvious, and you have substantial proof to credit both of these claims, it may be advantageous to take your case to court. However, only an experienced personal injury lawyer can accurately assess your legal case. If you do not think the settlement offered by the at-fault driver will cover your expenses, you may decide to go to court, or settle the case through third-party arbitration.

After an auto accident, it is understandably difficult to deal with expenses, insurance payments, and legal concerns. Enlist the help of a trusted friend, family member or professional to help you with insurance or legal concerns as you recover, and document your treatments carefully. Put your health first and get the treatment you need right away in order to prevent bigger costs and problems in the future.

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Posted in: Health & Wellness