If I have new life-long health issues as a result of an accident 9 years ago, can I sue the driver again if the case was already settled?

I was standing in my front yard when a drunk driver in a full size truck ran up and hit me in the back, I was 19 years old and I settled within 5 months for $53,000, after lawyer fees and hospital bills, I ended up with $13,000. Then 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, my doctor said that it was caused by severe bodily trauma, resulting from my accident. I’m also finding that I will probably also be needing spine surgery. Because of these new health issues caused by that one accident, am I able to go back and try to sue again? I’m 28 and will have these problems for life.

Asked on July 28, 2012 under Personal Injury, Kansas

Answers:

Anthony Van Johnson / VANJOHNSON LAW FIRM, L.L.C.

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, once you settle your case, your claim is over.  Within two (2) years from the date of the accident, you either had to settle your claim or file a lawsuit.  If you settle your case, the insurance company requires you to sign a "Release"  which then concludes your case.  You are not allowed to re-open your case or pursue other claims against the driver or any other insured included in the Release. 

Leigh Anne Timiney / Timiney Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No.  Unfortunately, once you have settled your case you cannot come back and sue the driver again for new damages.  When you settle a case you sign a "release" stating that you have settled all matters and issues relating to the accident and further, that you have no recourse or right to come back at a later time and seek compensation for anything else related to the incident.  This is standard.  An insurance company will not settle a case without a signed release.  If you think for some reason you did not sign a release, contact your previous attorney.  Setting aside the release, it sounds like it has now been 9 or 10 years snce the accident.  Statute of limitations are different from state to state but in most states, you have only 2 years to bring a personal injury claim.  You are way past that statute at this point.  When handling a personal injury situation, it is very important not to settle quickly.  The insurance companies really pressure injured parties to settle fast, for reasons just like this.  Unfortunatley, once you settle your options for compensation are done.  


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