When someone is involved in an accident, they may file a claim with their insurance company to cover the costs of any damages or injuries incurred. However, what happens if the victim discovers additional damages or injuries after the claim has been settled or closed? Can they re-open their accident claim?
The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the type of accident, the severity of the injuries, and the specific terms of the insurance policy. In general, there are two situations in which a victim may be able to re-open an accident claim: if new injuries are discovered after the claim has been settled or if the insurance company acted in bad faith during the claims process.
New Injuries After Accident Claim
In some cases, a victim may discover new injuries or damages after an accident claim has been settled or closed. For example, a car accident victim may initially only experience minor whiplash, but months later, they may discover they have a herniated disc that requires surgery. In these situations, the victim may be able to re-open their accident claim to cover the costs of the additional injuries.
However, re-opening an accident claim for new injuries is not always straightforward. Insurance companies typically have a time limit for filing a claim, known as the statute of limitations. Once the statute of limitations has expired, the victim may not be able to re-open their claim. The length of the statute of limitations varies by state and by the type of accident, so it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine the specific deadline in your case.
Even if the statute of limitations has not expired, the victim will need to provide evidence that the new injuries are related to the original accident. This may require additional medical exams or expert testimony to establish causation. The victim may also need to negotiate with the insurance company to determine the appropriate amount of compensation for the new injuries.
Bad Faith Claims Process
In addition to discovering new injuries, a victim may be able to re-open an accident claim if the insurance company acted in bad faith during the claims process. Bad faith can take many forms, such as denying a claim without a valid reason, delaying payment without justification, or failing to adequately investigate the claim.
If the victim can prove that the insurance company acted in bad faith, they may be able to re-open the claim and seek additional compensation. However, proving bad faith can be challenging, and it often requires the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
One potential sign of bad faith is if the insurance company failed to communicate with the victim or provide a clear explanation for the denial or delay of the claim. If the victim believes that the insurance company acted in bad faith, they should keep detailed records of all communications with the company, including emails, phone calls, and letters.
Contact De Castroverde Law Group If Any Of This Applies to You
Re-opening an accident claim can be a complex process, and it may not always be possible. However, if a victim discovers new injuries or believes that the insurance company acted in bad faith, they should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine their options.
If the statute of limitations has not expired and there is evidence to support the new injuries or bad faith, the victim may be able to re-open their claim and seek additional compensation. However, it is important to be aware of the challenges and potential pitfalls of re-opening an accident claim, as well as the potential costs of hiring an attorney to assist with the process.
In any case, it is important for accident victims to carefully document all injuries, damages, and communications with the insurance company to ensure that they have the strongest case possible in the event that they need to re-open their claim. Follow the link to contact our team and schedule a consultation.