Skip to main content

I settled my lawsuit almost 10 years ago can I reopen the case?

Elizabeth, NJ |

I contacted my then attorney immediately after my surgery and requested he file a malpractice lawsuit against my ortho doctor for the surgery! He explained he wouldn't because he uses him in all of his cases? I have been in pain since then, serious back pain that puts me out for weeks at a time. My then attorney will not assist me at all he simply says I dont think there is anything you can do!

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


I don't like to say "never", but I think your attorney is almost certainly right. It's hard to imagine the case being reopened. Sorry about what you are going through.


If you settle a lawsuit, then that is the first, last and only chance you have of getting any money for that lawsuit. There are no re-opener rights (worker's comp is different, but this doesnt sound like a workers comp case). However, if you are saying that you had surgery, and you want to start a new case for malpractice against the doctor that did the surgery - and that surgery was 10 years - theh the settlement doesnt stop you, but more than likely the Statute of Limitations does - which is generally two years from the date of the negligent surgery. There are some exceptions but it would be the extremely rare case that would allow a lawsuit 10 years after the negligent surgery, though some exist - if you were a minor at the time, the discovery rule, ongoing treatment with the same doctor, etc. . We would need more information to assess that situation. Finally, your attorney is right, it would present an ethical problem for him to file a medical negligence lawsuit against an expert that he uses in his case. -

Each case is fact senstive, so all answers should be viewed as general advice only, and should never replace a thorough and in depth consultation with an experienced attorney. Further, an answer should not be seen as establishing an attorney-client relationship.



I was 22 yrs old not to say I was not intelligent at that time but I did ask my lawyer after the surgery to file a suit against the doctor I was operated on the wrong side and then I was on crutches for 1 yr following this surgery. He put me off until there was no other alternative, in retrospect I should have found another attorney but again I was young and not very savy when it came to the law.

Michael David Lindner Jr

Michael David Lindner Jr


If that wrong sided surgery was 10 years ago, then I am sorry to tell you that most likely you are out of luck, it is too late.



Thank you very much Mr. Lindner for your time. An yes it will be 10 years in October of this year.


I am sorry to hear about your current situation, but settling your case 10 years ago means that you can never go back and reopen it to get more money. If you were able to reopen a settled matter then no insurance company would settle a case short of a trial.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

Get Avvo’s 3-part personal injury email series

A roundup of the best tips and legal advice.

Personal injury topics

Recommended articles about Personal injury

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer