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Can a person sign a disclaimer after falling on one's property after being paid and afterwards get others to keep claiming?

Apple Valley, CA |

A person fell on a friend's property, jumped up seemingly unhurt, but hours later claimed a huge amount for medical costs (without providing bills of proof), threatened with legal action and eventually settled for an exorbitant sum. She agreed to sign a document stating that she will not claim further. I suspect the disclaimer will be worth nothing since she is planning to get her brother to continue claiming forever saying that she is disabled and he must care for her. The real victim is the property owner, a pensioner, The fallen lady was NOT injured.

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

Any claim by him, for having to take care of his disabled sister, would have been a part of the initial claim brought by her.

Ms. Berjis is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ and thus this answer is for informational and educational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice. Since all facts are not addressed in the question, this answer could change depending on other significant and important facts. This answer in no way constitutes an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

If the individual who fell received a settlement, she would have signed a release of all claims, known and unknown, past, present and future in exchange for receiving the compensation. Absent fraudulent circumstances or duress involved in obtaining her signature on the release of claims, she would not be able to reopen her claim and obtain a “second bite of the apple”.

Attorney responses are PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DO NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. Such responses represent the attorney’s initial analysis based only upon the facts set forth in the question. Since the question may not include all of the facts or omit material facts or timelines which could affect the attorney’s conclusions, attorney responses should not be construed as legal advice for any particular set of facts but only as a preliminary opinion.

Posted

Interesting set of facts. I suppose a lot rides on how the release was worded. (The release is the document an injured party signs promising not to sue and releasing the other party of all liability in exchange for payment.) Another interesting legal question is whether the property owner has a duty to the brother, or whether the brother's relationship to the landlord is so remote that there is no legal duty. It can be argued that the brother's claims are derivative of the sister's and, therefore, encompassed in that settlement.

This is why it's important for the property owner to report this to her insurance company (if she hasn't done so yet); the insurance company will assign an attorney or adjuster to deal with these issues. For example, if the brother continues to threaten suit, the insurer may direct him to his sister and tell him to recoup his losses from the funds already paid -- those monies being meant to cover everything, including future care. If his threats continue, the insurance company or their assigned counsel could notify the brother that any lawsuit will result in a countersuit (a cross-complaint) against the sister.

This response is based on limited information. It is not meant as and does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

A release would have been signed.

Posted

Actually, the brother would have no legal claim against the property owner just because he is taking care of the sister. Derivative claims for loss of services and/or economic loss suffered by one person due to injuries suffered by another, are permissible for spouses and/or others in the "family" construct - ie, parent to child/child to parent. If the sister has settled her claim, and a Release was given by her to the property owner, neither she nor her brother should be able to come back to claim more medical expenses, etc. The bigger mystery is why the property owner did not report this accident and claim to his/her property insurance company who would likely have resolved everything at no expense to the property owner.

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