Can I go to court for a case that has “officially” been settled?

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2011

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Can I go to court for a case that has “officially” been settled?

25 years ago I was 5 years old and got hit by a car. According to legal documents I was able to obtain from the court, the defendant had auto insurance but at the time of the accident it had lapsed. The insurance company settled with the state to take care of all my medical bills (pertaining to the injuries). When I reached at age 2, I would be on my own. There was no financial compensation. I still have physical issues from the accident. Can I take this back to court in hopes of getting compensation now?

Asked on June 10, 2011 under Personal Injury, New Jersey


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your parents must have been acting as guardian ad litem on your behalf to represent your interests in the case when you were injured at age 5.  They must have reached some settlement or would have filed a lawsuit at that time.  If they reached a settlement, then as part of the settlement, your parents would have signed a release in which they gave up their claim in exchange for the settlement.  If that is what occurred, you would not be able to sue again on the same claim.  That is the purpose of the release which accompanies a settlement.  If there wasn't any settlement, the statute of limitations would have lapsed and you would not be able to file a lawsuit now.

Another issue is you said that the defendant's auto insurance had lapsed at the time of the accident.  If the insurance lapsed, the insurance company would have denied liability. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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