If I was in a car accident as a child, could the case be reopened given my life has been affected in a severe way?

I was in a car wreck with my mom as a child. She almost died and I had the usual injuries. But years later these injuries have made it hard to keep a job. I have severe back pain, headaches, and possibly PTS from the wreck. I can’t keep a job more than a couple months given these issues. Could my case be reopened, given I was a minor and my medical issues are worst then foreseen and then what I was compensated for? I received a small settlement. However, this wasn’t enough to survive given I can’t work. I’ve never been able to work very long. I’m now thirty-one years old and have no idea of how to make things work any longer and I feel that the man that hurt me is still responsible.

Asked on June 28, 2016 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't re-open the case:
1) If you received a settlement, while you should double check the settlement paperwork, it is almost certain that the settlement was paid in *full* settlement of all claims, whether now known or later discovered; generally, when you accept (or, if you were a minor, your parents accepted for you/on your behalf) a settlement, that settlement is all you get and you give up the right to sue for more.
2) The statute of limitations, or time within which to sue, for personal injury in your state is only 2 years. While that can be extended if you were a minor and could not sue right after the injury, that would mean extending the time to sue until you were 20 (i.e. to shortly after you were a legal adult and could file a lawsuit)--but you write  that you are 31. That is far too late to bring a legal action.


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