Most personal injury victims will fight to get compensation after an accident. Insurance companies are aware of this, and they will always strive to solve the matter. To achieve this, insurance companies will come up with a settlement offer in an effort to solve matters outside the court – usually at a lower cost to them and lower damages for you. For many personal injury victims, the insurance company’s initial offer may seem generous and enticing. However, as you will learn throughout this article, there may be other ways to maximize your compensation. Can you sue after an insurance settlement in Arkansas? Should you settle? Fayetteville, AR personal injury attorney Ken Kieklak explains.
Am I Allowed to File a Lawsuit After a Settlement in Arkansas?
A settlement is a process through which the involved parties decide to settle in exchange for releasing the liable party from liability. Accepting a settlement offer – or payment – after an accidental injury requires you to sign a contract where you give up your right to file a lawsuit against the liable parties. Without this legal document, the other party will not be willing to settle your case.
However, what is the practical effect of signing and subsequently accepting a settlement offer? Typically, when you sign a settlement offer, you agree not to pursue further actions against the liable party for the same accident. Whatever money you agree to get is all you can expect to receive to cover your expenses and losses. Thus, as a general rule, you cannot file a lawsuit against the liable parties once you accept a settlement offer.
Before accepting an insurance settlement, you must analyze the other party’s proposition. Many times, insurance settlements fail to cover all the losses you’ve experienced. Things like non-economic damages (pain and suffering) are not calculated as part of your insurance settlement. It is critical to hire an experienced Fort Smith, AR personal injury attorney who understands how insurance settlements work and can help you maximize your compensation.
Can I Still Sue After an Insurance Settlement in Arkansas?
While the general rule is that you cannot file a lawsuit against the liable party once you have signed and accepted a settlement offer, there are still exceptions. Like any other contract, a settlement offer must be legally formed and fulfilled following the law. If a settlement agreement is not compliant with state law, it cannot be enforced, which may allow you to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
The existence of fraud can allow you to file a lawsuit after a settlement. All parties in a contract must enter into their agreement without fraud or bad faith. If a party knowingly makes false statements to trick or deceive the other party before and during the contract creation, they would be committing fraud. In these circumstances, you can ignore what is written on the contract and proceed to file your personal injury lawsuit. However, proving fraud in a contract may be challenging to identify or deal with it, especially if you have never dealt with contractual fraud. It is always in your best interest to hire an experienced Arkansas personal injury lawyer who can help you with these legal matters.
There are circumstances where your accident involved more than one party. In these cases, it is important to understand that you may have a cause of action against those who were not part of your settlement agreement. Suppose you were involved in a truck accident in Arkansas. Truck accidents, like other types of vehicular crashes, can involve multiple parties. In this case, each of these parties is equally liable for the losses you experienced as a consequence of your crash.
It is possible that you entered into a settlement agreement with one of the parties, which would release them from liability in the future. Unless the language in your settlement expressly includes all involved parties in your case and releases them from future liability, you can still file a lawsuit and fight for compensation. In other words, if you settled your case with the truck driver in your accident, you can still file a lawsuit against any other parties involved that caused your accident and injuries. It is always best to hire a skilled Benton County, AR personal injury lawyer who can help you understand what you can do based on the circumstances of your case.
Should I Choose an Insurance Settlement or a Lawsuit in Arkansas?
After a car accident, you may want to pursue compensation. This is especially true for victims who need money to cover losses such as their medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Most of the time, this type of loss – economic damages – can be covered by an insurance company through a settlement. However, there is a caveat. Insurance companies may typically provide coverage for economic damages which do not include losses related to your pain and suffering, which can be a substantial portion of your compensation.
A personal injury claim may grant you the chance to recover compensation for non-economic losses, which include your pain and suffering. Many times, insurance companies will come up with a low-ball offer that may seem to take care of your most significant losses. However, they may be just a way for an insurance company to shake off liability while protecting their money. It is important to refrain from accepting any offers from the other party’s insurance before talking to an experienced Harris, AR personal injury attorney. With your lawyer’s assistance, you may have a better chance to maximize your compensation.
Arkansas Personal Injury Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
If you were involved in an accident and the other party’s insurance company is trying to settle your case, call us. It is essential to remember that the defendant’s insurance company does not work for you or looks to protect your interests. Our Fayetteville, AR personal injury attorneys can fight aggressively and strategically against the liable parties to get the compensation you deserve. To learn more about our services in a free, confidential consultation, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today at (479) 316-0438.