Can a Closed Car Insurance Claim Be Reopened?

If you were injured in a car accident and filed a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, you may have received a settlement to cover the costs of your medical expenses and lost wages. The car accident claim is closed once the settlement agreement has been signed and the money has been accepted. However, if you have ongoing medical expenses or your injuries are more serious than you thought, you may have questions about whether you can reopen a claim to seek additional compensation. Typically, a claim cannot be reopened once it has been closed. However, some exceptions may allow you to reopen a closed claim.

What Is a Closed Claim?

When a personal injury case is closed, the insurance company has decided that no further action will be taken with your claim. An insurance adjuster may simply notify you that your claim has been closed. If you have been paid, you cannot collect any additional money after the claim has been closed. You will not get paid if you have not received any settlement money and the insurance company determines that your claim is closed.

Depending on why the insurance company closed the claim, you may need to take legal action to have the claim reopened. For example, if the insurance company believes your contract does not require them to pay you, the only way to recover compensation is to take legal action. However, if you failed to pay your insurance premiums or did not pursue your claim and it closed for administrative reasons, you may reopen your claim without pursuing legal action.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for Reopening a Closed Claim?

In most cases, people try to reopen a closed claim because their injuries are more serious than initially thought. It is highly recommended that you do not sign a car accident settlement until you have reached maximum medical improvement, or MMI, which occurs when an injured person reaches a point where the person has fully recovered from their injuries.

You may also try to reopen a claim if you suffer injuries that were not immediately apparent after the accident. Insurance companies often settle claims quickly to avoid having to pay larger settlements for injuries that may appear at a later date, like a traumatic brain injury or other types of head injuries.

In addition, if new evidence is discovered that was not considered in the insurance company’s initial investigation, you may request that your claim be reopened and that the new evidence be included in your case file.

Reopening a Claim

Once your claim has been closed, it will unlikely be reopened. However, some circumstances may make you eligible to reopen a closed claim, including the following:

  • You settle a claim against one defendant, but multiple parties are involved. If multiple cars were involved in the accident, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against one of the other drivers. However, it is in your best interest to hire a car accident lawyer to review the legal documents and ensure that you understand the settlement terms. For example, some releases state that you agree to give up potential claims against anyone once you accept the settlement money.
  • You have not yet agreed to a settlement offer. If you are still negotiating with your insurance company and have not yet signed a release of liability, you can pursue legal action. A release of liability is a legal document that waives the other party from additional liabilities once the case has been closed.
  • The agreement is void. If there are errors in the contract agreement, including incorrect names or inaccuracies regarding the settlement amount, it may be considered void. A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract. If there are errors, it may be invalid, even if you have signed it.
  • There is no signed agreement. If you have not yet signed the settlement agreement, you may be able to reopen the claim if it falls within the statute of limitations. In Georgia, the statute of limitation for filing a personal injury claim is two years after the car accident date. If the statute of limitations has expired, it is unlikely that you will be able to reopen your claim.
  • You verbally agreed to a settlement. Often, only a signed settlement agreement is considered valid, which means you may be able to renegotiate an agreement if you verbally agree to the terms of the settlement. However, in some cases, a verbal agreement is considered valid. A dedicated car accident lawyer will review your agreement and determine whether you can reopen a closed claim.
  • The responsible party failed to pay the agreed settlement. If the other party fails to make the settlement payments within the agreed-upon timeline, you may be able to reopen the case. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may require the responsible party to pay by a specific date or reopen the case.

What Can I Do If My Insurance Company Refuses to Reopen My Claim?

If your insurance company does not reopen your claim, you must take legal action to get the financial compensation you deserve. It is highly recommended that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer, who will thoroughly examine your policy agreement and determine whether any clause in your policy was breached or if there is any error or details in the agreement that can help you reopen your claim and negotiate the settlement to which you are entitled.

Our Savannah Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Assist Clients Who Wish to Reopen a Closed Car Insurance Claim

If you were injured in a car accident and filed a closed claim, do not hesitate to contact our Savannah car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law if you want to reopen the claim. We will discuss the details of your case with you. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.