If you have been injured through no fault of your own, you may have a claim against the party responsible for causing your injuries. After the process of filing a claim with an insurance company, proving your damages, and agreeing upon a settlement amount, you will be asked to sign a release before receiving your settlement check.
Some victims are so relieved to be near the end of the claims process that they do not think twice about signing a release. However, a release may be a trap for the wary. Here are some things you should know before signing a settlement release:
It is likely a “release of all claims.” This means that, if you develop additional injuries or suffer complications in the future, you cannot make another claim to compensate you for additional damages.
It likely applies to the individual who injured you, as well as the insurance company. If you accept a settlement from the individual’s insurance company, you normally cannot pursue more money from the individual.
It may be broader than necessary. As an injured person, you have legal rights. You should not feel pressured to sign a settlement release that contains more restrictions than necessary.
Before signing a settlement release, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. All documents you sign should be reviewed by an attorney. You need to know that your rights are protected.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.