The finality of Settlement Agreements
The purpose of retaining a personal injury lawyer is to ensure that your rights are represented and also to help you get the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. It is important to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you make clear and concise decisions pertaining to your settlement.
In the real life case of Morant v Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, we take a look at just how important the mediation and decision-making process is when agreeing to a settlement.
The plaintiff in this case was involved in a vehicular accident in January of 2011 and sustained injuries which allowed her to apply for long term disability benefits from her insurer (Sun Life, the defendants).
In September of 2013, all parties were present at a mediation which lasted an entire day. The agreement resulted in a one hundred and ten thousand dollar all inclusive payment from Sun Life to the plaintiff, and a full and final release from further liability for the defendant.
Within a week, the monies were sent to the plaintiff's representative in its full amount.
During this time, the plaintiff also settled with TD Insurance (the company who insured her vehicle) for SAB (statutory Accident Benefits) and tort damages since the defendant driver was not insured.
In the first week of October that same year, the plaintiff's lawyer let the defendants (through their legal representatives) know that she wanted to reverse the settlement agreement. She claimed that at the time of the mediation she was unable to function in a responsible capacity. She was in pain and stressed through the entire proceeding and therefore unable to agree to a fair and deserved compensation. To that date, she had not touched the money she had been awarded.
Canadian Law allows a party (in this case Sun Life and TD Insurance) the legal right to pursue a judgment when a party attempts to rescind a settled claim. The Judge takes many factors into consideration when deciding a case like this one, and a few are stated below.
- If there are proven criminal elements like fraud or gross unfairness (borne from ignorance or intentional deception) present in the settlement
- Where a representative of a claimant was not legally authorized to settle the claim, and was able to do so knowingly to the other party involved
- If a party lacks the mental capacity to legally enter into an agreement of settlement at that time
Morant's lawyer recollects the testimony and statements made by his client, but he does not state whether or not he believes her claim of duress to be factual.
The affidavits which were made available to both parties at the time all show that there were no objections during the settlement arrangement. This does not bode well for her case, especially since she has not produced any evidence supporting her claims.
Regardless, it does not make her case inadmissible. It does however point towards the fact that she has simply just changed her mind after the fact and this is not sufficient a reason enough to reverse the settlement agreement. The Judge therefore could not find in her favor and saw it as a "buyer's remorse" situation.
It is extremely important to have a reputable and compassionate personal injury law firm on your side when you have been injured.
At Gluckstein Lawyers, our years of experience allow us to offer a professional and empathetic service that helps you through one of the most challenging times in your life. Give us a call today or visit us online and tell us your story.
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