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After settlement if new evidence is found showing the driver not charged in a car accident is at fault can the case be reopened?

Fort Mill, SC |

My 3 sons were seriously injured in a car accident when their grandmother was driving. She was killed. The police report determined she was at fault . The report said the tire tracks on the road showed she crossed a double line into an oncoming dump truck. There were no witnesses. The dump truck driver corroborated the police report. My insurance company and my mother in laws insurance company paid a settlement to our family for my children's injuries and to the dump truck driver for his injuries. I signed a claim settlement saying I would not further sue my mother in laws estate. However, I believe the dump truck driver was at fault. I also believe we have new evidence to prove this. If I can can get a confession from him is there a chance to sue his company's insurance company or him?

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Attorney answers 6


Maybe. It may depend on what the release that you signed says. You should have gotten an attorney for the claim against your mother in law's estate. If you have not done so already, you will need one to deal with the truck driver.

The information provided should not be considered legal advice. I am not licensed to practice in any State other than SC. The results of your case will depend on the presentation of evidence, the law and other factors that may change depending on an in depth analysis of the facts of the case. Please see an attorney before making legal decisions.


It is very difficult to reopen a settled claim. Your best approach is to talk with an attorney in your area to see if there are factors which could allow a reopening.


It depends upon the language of the release you signed.

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In civil litigation, dismissal with prejudice can take a couple of different forms. Once a case has been brought to court and a judgment has been made, the matter is concluded, or dismissed. The term "with prejudice" indicates the court cannot be asked to rule on the same issues again.

This is a similar legal doctrine to double jeopardy in a criminal case. In the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and some other jurisdictions, a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice. Once the individual has been found not guilty, the matter effectively forms a dismissal with prejudice.

The other form that a dismissal with prejudice can take is when a civil case is dismissed by a judge on those terms. The judge effectively stops the plaintiff, who is the person claiming they suffered a loss or injury, from starting another lawsuit based on the same incident, or cause of action. The parties to the legal action may agree to a voluntary dismissal with prejudice if they settled the matter before it got in front of a judge.

A dismissal without prejudice is a different matter. Like a dismissal with prejudice, the legal action is finished. When this type of dismissal occurs, the plaintiff in the matter can bring a lawsuit before the court based on the same cause of action later if he or she chooses to do so.

The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Howard Roitman, Esq. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.


Absent fraud, there is usually no way to reopen a settled case. Much may hinge on what this "new evidence" is and what the language is contained in the release you signed.

Also, as insurance claims are more or less adversarial proceedings, much like court, it is incumbent upon each party to perform their due diligence in determining all the evidence prior to reaching any agreement.

Hope this helps.

Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
Chicago, IL

This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.


I agree with Mr. Hoffman. Unless you can prove fraud, there's just no possible way you're going to alter the settlement. But you should hire a lawyer to review the exact language.

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