If you sign a release with an insurance company, you may be agreeing to get paid, but you may be also agreeing that you will not receive any additional money from that insurance company. Before signing a release, you have the opportunity to discuss it with a lawyer. That's your right.
Sometimes insurance companies will approach an injured person immediately and offer a quick settlement. Sometimes that quick settlement doesn't consider the injured person's future damages, future losses due to that injury. Before signing any forms, it’s important to understand what each form means and how it can impact your case.
The series of events following a personal injury can be stressful and emotionally taxing, especially when faced with cumbersome documents and complicated paperwork. Some of this paperwork may include a release form from an insurance company. This form will come from the insurance company for the liable party - if you’re not at fault, your own insurance company will not request a release form.
When you sign a release from an insurance company, you may be relinquishing a number of things, including the other party’s liability for the accident, or granting access to your own medical records. There are multiple release forms, or authorization forms, that you may receive from an insurance company.
One example of a release form is a medical authorization release, which allows the insurance company access to your medical records. This could be to find information supporting your personal injury claim, but it may also mean that the insurance company will take the opportunity to find events in your medical history that could put your personal injury claim at risk. Before you sign a medical authorization release, it’s important to read the documents carefully and consult with an attorney to ensure you’re not relinquishing access to vulnerable information.
Another release form is a release of liability and claims, meaning you are forfeiting the guilty party’s liability in the case. These release forms are required before you reach a settlement, and once signed, it closes the case for good -- you can not reopen the case in the future once you release liability of the negligent party and their insurance company. While you’ll have to provide a signature to receive a settlement, it’s imperative that you’re willing to completely relinquish the case and walk away after signing the release.
Once you release liability, and the case is closed, you will not be eligible for future compensation from the liable party regardless of future damages resulting from the accident. You must weigh this possibility against the initial settlement offer -- you will not receive any compensation from an insurance company until you sign the form.
A third release, and certainly a more positive form, is the release that initiates your settlement and compensation distribution. A property damage release is your acknowledgement of the cost of damage as a result of your accident, and is the release of funding to cover those damages.
At Berry Law Firm, before our clients sign anything, we ensure that our clients are protected. If they are seeking monetary damages for their injuries, we research the extent of their injuries. We know what the costs are, we know the value of the case and we do not proceed, we do not sign anything, until we are positive that our clients are getting the best possible result from that release.