My Insurance Company Wants Me to Sign a Release Before They Give Me the Check—Should I Sign It?
If you are handling your injury claim on your own without an Indiana personal injury attorney’s assistance, you may be sent a release agreement to sign prior to receiving your check. Should you sign it? The first thing you should know is that this release is a legally binding document. Once you sign the release you are effectively giving up the right to any further claims.
Before you sign anything, it is important that you have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner who can thoroughly analyze the release, letting you know exactly what the future consequences of your signature could be. Having a Cohen & Malad, LLP injury lawyer on your case can give you peace of mind, knowing you are not inadvertently signing away any of your rights.
What Releases Will I have to Sign Before Receiving a Check?
There are three types of release forms you might be asked to sign following an accident—none of which you should sign without first speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney. First is the Medical Authorization Release that allows an insurance company to dig into your personal medical history. The second is a Release of All Liability and Claims, which essentially lets the insurance company off the hook for your damages.
Finally, you could be asked to sign a release before you receive a check for damages to your vehicle or for your medical costs. A vehicle release is generally used when the damage to your car was extensive and you are receiving a check. Generally, if the damage to your vehicle exceeds the market value of the vehicle, the insurance company will make you an offer based on the pre-accident condition of your vehicle. You will be asked to sign a release that states you accept the offer and the check. If your vehicle is being repaired, there will likely be no check or release involved, as the money will be paid directly to the auto body shop.
You might also be asked to sign a release for your medical expenses if you have come to an agreement with the insurance company. If you are handling this on your own, think carefully about the following questions. Are you comfortable with the settlement amount? Will the settlement offer cover all your medical costs—past, present, and future? Are you absolutely sure your medical treatment is complete? Is there a possibility you may miss more work in the future? If you are unsure of the answer to any of these questions, you definitely need to consult an Indiana injury lawyer before you sign and accept a check.
Most release forms you would be asked to sign prior to receiving a check for damages to your vehicle or your medical expenses are full of legal language. This language likely says you know what you are signing, that the agreement you are signing is not only final, but is legally binding, and possibly that you will not reveal the terms of your settlement. In other words, you are agreeing that even if you later have additional injuries related to the accident—or you find that the amount paid for your car was woefully low—you will not be eligible for additional compensation.
Signing Releases and How Cohen & Malad, LLP Can Help
It is worth noting that property settlements are usually made prior to injury settlements, so you must also make sure your property release agreement does not include any language that says the settlement check includes payment for your injuries. In the end, it is always better to speak to a knowledgeable Cohen & Malad, LLP personal injury attorney. We will ensure your rights and your future are properly protected and that anything you sign is in your best interests. While you may be feeling desperate to get a check for your vehicle or your injuries, you never want to sign away your rights. Contact Cohen & Malad, LLP today.