One thing to keep in mind after a serious injury is that that injury may later lead to a person’s early death. Sometimes, complications from injuries don’t happen right away, but the original cause of those injuries is still the cause of the person’s wrongful death.
This can make for a complicated situation if you already went through a personal injury case for your loved one.
What happens if someone worsens after a personal injury settlement?
The first situation that can occur is for someone who is injured to get worse after a settlement is finalized. Since this is a risk, many attorneys and legal professionals will ask their clients not to settle for less than they may need in the future if they need additional care and support.
When a settlement is signed, it may be a compromise and release settlement or come with a release of claims form. If that’s the case, then signing that settlement means that there may be no further way to reopen the case. The agreement instead is assumed to cover all past, present and future costs that are associated with the injury.
This can be even more damaging if a person settles a case for a personal injury and later dies from the injury, since the injury may technically have turned into a wrongful death.
The family of those who have died may still have a way to claim
If a person’s personal injury claim is settled, it’s possible that family members may still be able to file a claim for their wrongful death separately. However, that isn’t always the case, so it’s a good idea to review exactly what kind of personal injury claim was agreed upon and if there is an opportunity to open a wrongful death claim.
Avoid trouble by waiting to settle
To avoid this situation, it’s better to wait to settle a personal injury claim until you know that the injured party is medically stable. Once you’re clear on the possible complications and other issues that may arise in the future, it’s easier to come up with a reasonable settlement.