After a car accident in Acworth, GA, seeking financial compensation from an at-fault party is normal. Generally, this involves you or your Acworth car accident lawyer filing a claim with the negligent driver’s insurer. This is the beginning of the claims process.
What follows next is a series of meetings where your lawyer and the insurance representative negotiate your settlement sum. Sometimes, the negotiation ends with an amount both parties can live with. At other times, the money will be so low that your attorney has no choice but to file a lawsuit.
A third option is an insurer outrightly refusing your claim, resulting in a court case. The focus of this article is the first scenario. Where the agreement sum appears fair to you and your lawyer, and you accept it, the insurance company makes you sign a release form or release of claims form.
This document has legal implications that you should be aware of before signing. This knowledge is even more important if you choose not to hire an attorney. However, always work with a lawyer to ensure your rights are adequately protected.
What Is a Release of Claims Form?
A release form is part of the insurance settlement agreement. It resolves differences, dismisses any claims, and releases the at-fault party from liability for the crash. Some insurance companies refer to it as an accident release form or a liability waiver form.
When you sign this form, it frees the negligent party and their insurance carrier from future obligations arising from the Acworth car accident. The insurance company makes you sign the form before paying you compensation. This way, they ensure you don’t take the money and back out afterward.
The release of claims form is quite detailed and precise. It only contains the information regarding the personal injury claim arising from that particular accident. There will be specific details about the crash and what you claimed, like bodily wounds and property damages.
The form also contains the identities of those involved in the accident and the amount of settlement agreed. Lastly, the document covers state governing laws on car accident injury settlement.
Should You Sign an Acworth Car Accident Release Form?
The answer is yes and no. The response that applies depends on the facts and circumstances of each claim. Before signing a claims release form, you need to go through the settlement terms with a fine tooth comb. If you have a lawyer, they can do this for you.
The first thing to watch for is whether the agreement sufficiently covers your damages. This is because once you sign the release form, you cannot make any more claims on the same facts and damages. As a result, if you are still getting treated when the insurance company makes you an offer, it would be best to decline it.
Even if the money seems substantial, don’t accept it. Wait until you recover or attain maximum medical improvement (MMI). At this point, you know how much you’ve spent on medical bills and what you will spend if your condition requires future medical care. This way, you don’t shortchange yourself and ensure the insurer pays you all you’re entitled to.
If you sign the release form before the above, you will cover any future medical costs yourself. Note that the insurance company does not give you the settlement check until you return the signed document. Usually, the form contains these clauses:
- Release obligation to pay
- Non-admission of guilt
- Give up the right to sue
You can sign the form if you have no problems with these clauses. But again, consult your Acworth car accident lawyer before making a decision.
Can You Sue After Signing a Release Form?
As stated above, one of the clauses of the release of claims form asks you to give up your right to sue. It means that even if you later discover that the money is insufficient to cover your damages, you cannot file a lawsuit. In such an instance, your only option is to live with your decision.
However, if the insurance company fraudulently coerced you into signing the form, you can apply to the court to annul the agreement. But speak with your lawyer and follow their guidance.
Book a Free Consultation With Premium Acworth Car Accident Lawyers
The legal guidance provided by attorneys cannot be ignored. An Acworth car accident lawyer keeps you from making costly mistakes and ensures you get maximum compensation. In addition, we protect your rights and keep you from getting bullied by the insurance company. Contact us today at The Weinstein Firm for a free case review.