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

Asked almost 2 years ago - 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!

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Michael David Lindner Jr

    Contributor Level 14

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  2. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  3. Robert A. Stumpf

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

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