If I was in a car accident as a child, could the case be reopened given my life has been affected in a severe way?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I was in a car accident as a child, could the case be reopened given my life has been affected in a severe way?

I was in a car wreck with my mom as a child. She almost died and I had the usual injuries. But years later these injuries have made it hard to keep a job. I have severe back pain, headaches, and possibly PTS from the wreck. I can’t keep a job more than a couple months given these issues. Could my case be reopened, given I was a minor and my medical issues are worst then foreseen and then what I was compensated for? I received a small settlement. However, this wasn’t enough to survive given I can’t work. I’ve never been able to work very long. I’m now thirty-one years old and have no idea of how to make things work any longer and I feel that the man that hurt me is still responsible.

Asked on June 28, 2016 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't re-open the case:
1) If you received a settlement, while you should double check the settlement paperwork, it is almost certain that the settlement was paid in *full* settlement of all claims, whether now known or later discovered; generally, when you accept (or, if you were a minor, your parents accepted for you/on your behalf) a settlement, that settlement is all you get and you give up the right to sue for more.
2) The statute of limitations, or time within which to sue, for personal injury in your state is only 2 years. While that can be extended if you were a minor and could not sue right after the injury, that would mean extending the time to sue until you were 20 (i.e. to shortly after you were a legal adult and could file a lawsuit)--but you write  that you are 31. That is far too late to bring a legal action.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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