Many people who are injured in an accident that is the fault of another are contacted by the other party’s insurance provider and offered a settlement. Acceptance of a settlement includes an insurance release form, which effectively requires that in exchange for the settlement money, the accident victim must forfeit their legal rights to sue on the accident claim in the future, thereby releasing the other party and the insurance provider from any further liability. To think of this another way, getting the settlement amount is contingent on signing the release. Is signing an insurance release a good idea?
In short, signing the release at some point is a good idea because it usually indicates that you have agreed to a settlement amount, rather than having to go to trial. However, you shouldn’t rush into signing an insurance release if the settlement offer was given to you shortly after you suffered your injuries.
Reasons To Delay Signing An Insurance Release
There are a number or reasons why it might not be in your best interest to sign an insurance release too soon after you suffer an injury. To begin, you may not have a full understanding of how extensive your injuries are, or you may not have a good idea of how much medical care your injuries will require in the future. You need to take some time to fully assess your injuries and how they will impact your life down the road before you agree to any offer made by an insurance company. You need to ensure that your future medical expenses are provided for.
Another reason to delay signing an insurance release is that it might be detrimental to your own insurance provider, and signing the release without consulting your own insurance company could leave you with unpaid expenses if your carrier drops you as a consequence. By signing the release, you will be forfeiting your rights to seek further compensation from the liable parties, but you may also be forfeiting your insurance company’s right to seek further compensation as well. Many insurance policies require holders to obtain permission from their insurance provider before signing any insurance releases from liable parties.
It is also important to ask questions before signing any insurance release. Even if the insurance company sends you the settlement check, take an opportunity to ask any and all questions you have before you sign the release or endorse the check. At this point, you are responsible for making sure that the insurance company is giving you a fair deal, and you may even want to consult with a personal injury lawyer before signing anything.
Once you sign the release, there is no turning back. A release is a binding contract, and you will be stuck with the consequences of signing the release. You need to make sure that you are ready to release the other party and their insurance provider before you accept the settlement amount.
What About A Medical Release? Should I Sign That?
The liable party’s insurance provider will likely send you a medical release to sign. By signing this document, you are granting the insurance company authorization to access to any medical information about you that they can get their hands on. Is that something that you want them to be able to do?
You do not have to sign a medical release, but you will have to provide the relevant medical records and documents that the insurance company requests. By not signing the medical release, you retain control over your personal medical information.