The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved through settlements. In order to obtain the settlement money, you are typically required to sign a release of claim. But not understanding what signing this document means can have serious consequences for you. We’ll explain what it means to sign a release of claim when settling.
What is a Release of Claim?
A release of all claims form, or liability waiver is an agreement that establishes the resolution of each party’s differences and dismisses their claims. When you have been injured in an auto accident and are offered a settlement by an insurance company, you will likely be required to sign a release of all claims form before you are issued a settlement check.
The insurance company may put a lot of pressure on you to sign the form quickly, and you might be tempted. You may see medical bills piling up, and depending on the severity of your injuries and your job situation, you may be out of work with no or reduced income coming in. But unless you have consulted an attorney, signing this form is not in your best interest.
You May Waive Your Right to File a Lawsuit
Insurance companies tempt injury victims with a quick, cash settlement as a way to put an end to the matter without having to go to court, which is expensive for them. To ensure there is no future lawsuit, part of what you’re agreeing to by signing a release of claims form is the right to file a lawsuit in the future.
You May Waive Your Right to Additional Compensation
The extent of your injuries or their long-term consequences may not be immediately apparent after an auto accident, especially if you don’t seek the proper medical care. That may mean that you should have received a much larger settlement than you accepted from the insurance company.
Insurance companies frequently offer to pay for medical bills and property damage but don’t offer to compensate victims for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
But you can’t seek additional compensation once you’ve signed a release of all claims form.
You May Waive Your First-Party Benefits
If the release of claims form isn’t carefully worded, you may inadvertently release your own health, disability, worker’s compensation, or other insurance carrier from their obligation to pay you future benefits. It’s vital that any release of claims form be worded in such a way as to preserve your first-party benefits.
Ensuring Legal Protections
An attorney can ensure that your rights are preserved and protected throughout the settlement process and that any release of claims form you sign has your best interests in mind.
Contact a Florida Auto Accident Lawyer
It may seem convenient to accept a settlement from an insurance company without consulting an attorney, but this can put you at a disadvantage. Insurance companies have professionals who handle their negotiations. As a layperson, you need an expert on your side who will protect your interests and maximize your compensation.
Our legal team has over 40 years of experience seeking justice for our clients who have been the victims of car accidents. Our attorneys have sought and won millions of dollars for our injured clients. Don’t allow your health and legal rights to go unaddressed after a car accident.
Call 850-601-1111 to schedule a complimentary consultation with no obligations. This consultation will help you explore your legal options. Let us help you fight for fair compensation.