An accident can be a traumatic experience, one which most people want to put behind them as quickly as possible. There are many reasons to settle quickly with your insurance company. Bills pile up, and you may be absent from work. Collecting what you need to pay for damages beyond what your no-fault insurance pays helps you move forward. Most of the time, an insurer will request that you sign a release form before the settlement is paid. In both instances, it is best to contact your accident injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or Boca Raton before a release form is signed.
What Is an Insurance Release Form?
An insurance release form is a document an insurance company will ask you to sign before funds are released. By signing this form, an accident victim releases the insurance company and the other driver from any obligation or liability associated with the accident beyond what is being paid. While settling a claim quickly and being paid is welcome, absolving the insurance company and another driver from responsibility might be problematic if it is done before additional damages are uncovered.
Why Would an Insurance Company Request That a Release Be Signed?
In many cases, an accident occurs due to the actions of a negligent driver. If the driver is insured, the insurance company may be obligated to pay the injured driver for damages. While some accidents are catastrophic and injuries significant, not all accident injuries are that clear cut, particularly at the beginning. The insurance company may discover that the person they insured was responsible for the accident. In time, injuries that were not obvious in the first days or even weeks may evolve. For instance, the shock of the accident may mitigate recognition of some injury symptoms. In addition, an injury may worsen, resulting in additional medical treatment.
What Does an Individual Forfeit When A Release Is Signed?
The injured victim forfeits the ability to receive compensation for damages beyond what is known when the release is signed. If the insurance company agrees to pay a particular sum early on, the company’s responsibility stops there. In many cases, so do the obligations of the negligent driver. This can result in out-of-pocket expenses for the injured person. For instance, looking at a hypothetical case, if a driver finds that additional medical care exceeds both the no-fault limit of his or her insurance policy or the amount the insurance company paid in a settlement, the injured person may be forced to shoulder the cost of such additional care.
How Does Signing a Release Affect my Insurer?
By signing a release, you are taking away any further responsibility from the other driver and his or her insurance company. This means that your own insurer may be unable to recapture some of the funds paid to you under your own policy. On top of that, some insurers have a clause in the policy demanding that you alert them to a potential release and get the company’s permission before signing it. If you sign without honoring this, there may be significant repercussions.
How Can an Accident Injury Lawyer Help?
Immediately after an accident, consulting with an accident injury lawyer can help you know what you should do during a trying time. An attorney can review any settlement proposals and advise you about whether agreeing to the settlement is in your best interests. In addition, the attorney can review your policy, medical reports and accident data to provide you with the information you need. Call us for a free case evaluation if you are injured in an accident.