When you sign a car accident settlement agreement and release, you will no longer be able to pursue any legal claims resulting of the car accident. Every settlement agreement will contain a clause that states that you release the defendant and their insurance company from further liability in connection with your claim. This language finalizes the claim forever.
This means you will only get one chance to settle and obtain compensation for your car accident injuries. If you do not get enough money for your claim, there is generally nothing you can do about it in the future. Since your settlement proceeds must pay for past and future medical care, there may be little or no money left for you.
The Insurance Company Only Gives You Money Once You Sign a Release
From the insurance company’s standpoint, the release clause incentivizes them to give you money. Your settlement agreement boils down to you terminating any and all legal claims in connection with the accident in exchange for the settlement check. Without a release clause, the insurance company would not want to settle your claim. It is standard procedure in every settlement agreement.
Here, you are giving up your right to sue in the future. Every binding agreement requires consideration. In other words, you must give something to get something.
Release Clauses Are Meant to Be Final
Usually, the release clause is a binding agreement between you and the insurance company, and you cannot get out of it. There are very few circumstances under which you could file a lawsuit once you have signed the release.
For example, if you were misled or deceived and learned new information, you may have the ability to reopen your case. However, there is a very high bar when setting aside the clear language of a release agreement.
In addition, you should also be careful about what claims and defendants you are releasing. Here is where the language of the release clause matters. You would only extinguish your claim with regard to the defendant with whom you are settling. You would not want a general release because that may prevent you from suing other defendants who may potentially owe you money in your case.
The exact language of the release clause matters. Whether you have any potential future rights depends on every word and comma. Before you sign a release agreement, you should have an experienced lawyer review it.
There is a possibility that you could negotiate the exact language to reflect your circumstances. In other words, there may be a good reason to depart from the standard language the insurance company wants to use.
You Should Hire a Lawyer to Negotiate Your Settlement
The finality of the release clause is one of the primary reasons you need to involve a lawyer in your car accident case. Without an attorney, there is a real risk that you may never know how much your claim is worth.
An insurance company is nothing but opportunistic when they know that they owe money. The insurance company wants you to sign on the dotted line so they can avoid paying the claim’s full value. If they see that you do not have a lawyer, they may even dangle an early settlement offer in front of you and pressure you to take it.
You will not find yourself in this situation when you hire an experienced lawyer. Before your lawyer even files your claim, they will analyze your specific situation and come up with a number for your damages. Then, they will negotiate with the insurance company to get you the right amount of compensation, advising you to reject settlement amounts that do not fairly compensate you.
When you sign the release clause that goes along with your settlement, you will do it confidently, knowing that your lawyer worked hard to obtain the most compensation for your car accident case.
On the flip side, if you sign the release clause on your own, you will never know how much you could have gotten. The only thing that you will know is that you likely could have gotten more. Meanwhile, the insurance company will have gotten away with paying you less than you deserved. Our job is level the playing field, and make sure that insurance companies don’t take advantage of injured people.
Contact a Wilmington Car Accident Attorney Today
When you hire the attorneys at Horton Mendez, you will get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are doing everything possible to maximize your car accident settlement compensation. We know how much your case is worth, and you will not leave money on the table.
Your first step is to schedule your free initial consultation. To discuss your case, you can message us online or call us at (910) 668-8067.
Car Accident Case FAQs
How much is my car accident case worth?
Your settlement check should reflect your specific injuries, and we need to review your situation before we can give you a number.
What should I do when I have been offered a car accident settlement?
Your lawyer will review the amounts and how the insurance company values each element of your claim. If the numbers fairly reflect what you deserve, they would advise you to accept the settlement.
How much will I need to pay for a car accident lawyer?
We work for you on a contingency basis. You would not need to make an upfront payment out of your pocket to hire a lawyer. You only pay us if we win your case.