2 years ago, we hired a lawyer for a personal DUI injury case. Since the case was so clear-cut (DUI, who had insurance, rear-ended me), we went into arbitration. We sued for X amount, but I have since found out that I will need more medical treatment than originally thought. Can I increase the amount that I've sued for based on this new cost info?
I am going to assume you have a lawyer, since you are in litigation. If that is the case, this is a question for your lawyer. Normally you don't sue for any set amount, you only sue for "in excess of $10,000" and then prove your actual amount. As my colleagues have warned, if your damages are now more than $50k, you need to get out of arbitration. If you do not have a lawyer and are trying to do a lawsuit on your own, you are in way over your head and absolutely need to retain counsel. There is no such thing as a "clear-cut" case anymore. You may have good liability, but you still have to prove causation and actual damages.
You can change anytime based on changed circumstances. The question is can you relate the new injury back to the original accident. Additionally, if the new treatments will put your potential settlement over the 50k court mandated arbitration process then you may want to look into exempting the case from arbitration.
More information is needed about the arbitration. If your case is in the mandatory court-annexed arbitration program, you can most likely file a late request for exemption. If you agreed to binding arbitration with the defendant, which typically includes capping the amount of recovery available, you may be stuck with the limits of the agreement. You should speak with your attorney and find out exactly what the arbitration parameters are and your current options.
Your health is paramount so follow doctor's orders first and foremost. If this new treatment increases the value of your case to be more than $50k then you probably need to consider getting out of arbitration. If you already have an attorney you need to give them this medical information and meet with them to discuss removing the case from the arbitration program. If you do not have an attorney, get one now before it is too late. If that is the case, any of us that practice in Las Vegas and post here on Avvo are qualified to assist you.
This question should be addressed to your attorney, who is in the very best position to advise you. If the arbitration has not been held yet, there should be a way to accommodate this new information.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
Be sure and ask your attorney about your issues. I am concerned about your path of abitration, perhaps you and your lawyer can discuss your options going forward, maybe to include opting out and getting back into court.
Cases involving DUIs can be great for plaintiffs with a jury, I'd hate to see you drop that advantage in abitration with a bunch of insurance industry guys - remember the insurance companies are frequent clients of the arbitrators, you're appearing for your one and only abitration...seems worth reconsidering.
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