If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, it is very important that before you ever sign any kind of release, you have a detailed understanding of exactly what you are signing, and what it may mean for your recovery.
After an automobile accident, the other driver's insurance company may want to offer you a quick settlement, which may seem tempting. It may even appear that their offer will cover your car repair, a couple of lost days of work, and even the trip to the doctor's office. However, before you sign a release, you need to understand why the insurance company is offering it to you, and how a settlement now could affect you in the future.
Waiving Your Rights to File a Claim
A release form from the insurance company generally is an agreement to waive your rights to later sue the other driver for the accident. In a way, it is a standard agreement that is part of a legal settlement. However, remember that most people don't deal with signing contracts, releases, and legal claims on a daily basis. The insurance company does.
The terms of the release may appear straightforward, but considering the insurance company has a team of lawyers working behind the scenes, you should have the benefit of an experienced eye to look over the terms and conditions of the release.
The insurance company may even try and persuade you that you should quickly sign the release or risk losing the settlement offer. This may be another tactic to get you to agree to a fast, low ball offer. It will also make you think that you don't have enough time to consult your attorney, to make sure the offer is fair, sufficient, and does not sign away all of your rights. Do not be intimidated by the insurance company's tactics; talk to someone who can explain to you exactly what a release may mean for your case, and your physical and financial health.
Even if your injury seems relatively minor at the time, you should make sure it is not a serious injury masquerading as a minor ache or pain. Traumatic car accidents are notorious for giving drivers a quick scare, where they walk away with only a neck ache or minor bruising. However, the true extent of the injury may not be clear for days or even weeks. A tight back may eventually lead to trouble lifting or even getting out of bed. A sore neck may leave the driver with constant headaches and prevent them from being able to sleep. In addition to potential future medical bills, this could lead to additional time away from work.
All of these cost considerations come in addition to the costs for a new or repaired vehicle, lost wages, and any other expenses resulting from the accident. This is why it is important to be sure that the proposed settlement will cover ALL of your damages.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
Your personal injury attorney will likely tell you to wait before deciding to waive your rights to file a lawsuit. If you were injured, you need time to see if you completely recover, if you are permanently injured as a result of the accident, or if your recovery time may take months or years. It is important to have a full picture of the extent of your injuries before you can determine whether a settlement is sufficient to take care of your pain and suffering.
If you were injured in an accident, contact the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian to get the help you need to file your case and get the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys have years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases throughout the DC metro area. Contact our office today for a free consultation, and make sure your insurance company isn't trying to take you for a ride.