What is a “release of all claims” in a settlement?
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you can file a personal injury claim against the defendant. Typically, if you got into a car accident or other type of accident like a slip and fall, you’ll go through the defendant’s insurance company. When you settle your lawsuit, you’ll sign a release of all claims form
Learning about accidents, settlements, and these forms will prepare you for the road ahead if you’ve decided to initiate a lawsuit.
Start with the Personal Injury FAQ on Rafi Law Firm’s website, and read on for additional advice.
The Release of All Claims
Also known as a liability waiver form, the release of all claims form is signed when the defendant and plaintiff reach a settlement in a lawsuit. It does three things, including:
- Resolving the issue between the two parties
- Dismissing the plaintiff’s claims
- Releasing the defendant from liability
The defendant is typically the party responsible for your injury, as well as their insurance company if you’re going through insurance. The purpose is to ensure that you won’t come after the defendant for more money after they have already paid you a settlement.
What’s on this form?
The form will contain the terms of the agreement, which will state that the defendant is released from paying you anything else, along with details about the accident, what your claim is, who each party is, payment information, and governing law.
What To Do Before Signing
Before signing the agreement, it’s important to review it with your personal injury lawyer. You need to make sure all the details are correct.
For example, all the damages you’re going after should be covered, and the payment amount should be right. If you sign a form without reviewing the details, you might not get as high of a settlement as you could have and you’ll be stuck paying the bills for your medical expenses and covering your lost wages.
You won’t be able to sue the driver or insurance company afterward or ask for additional money, even if you experience another injury as a result of the accident.
Settling With an Insurance Company and Defendant
Even if you don’t have a personal injury lawyer, an insurance company may contact you to offer you a settlement and try to get you to sign a release of all claims form. It’s inadvisable to do this for a few reasons.
The insurance company is not looking out for you and your best interests. They simply want to give you the lowest settlement offer possible so that they can save money. They also don’t want to have to go through a lawyer because they know they could end up having to pay you more money. They’ll call you when you’re vulnerable and assume you know nothing about the legal process. They may also ask you a lot of questions about the accident to try to pin the blame on you so they don’t have to pay.
Even if the settlement seems fair, it’s likely not going to be high enough. You may have what just seems like whiplash now, but you could end up experiencing much more pain in your neck and other areas of your body down the line. If you accept the low settlement, you probably won’t be able to afford your medical expenses.
Plus, you’ll have to take time off work to go to doctors’ appointments, which means you’ll lose some income as well.
Instead, it’s best to call up a lawyer. That way, you can avoid being pressured to settle with the insurance company right away.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
A personal injury lawyer will know how to negotiate with the insurance company to get you the settlement you deserve. They will gather evidence to prove that the defendant was at fault and go back and forth with insurance until they offer you a settlement that will cover your bills.
Plus, your lawyer won’t charge you anything unless you settle. They’ll take their commission out of the final settlement. If you choose to go with their network of providers like doctors and specialists, they will take the money owed to their providers out of your settlement as well.
Keep in mind that you can always ask your lawyer to renegotiate a settlement if you don’t think it’s high enough. They work for you and do whatever they can to ensure you are satisfied.
What To Do After an Accident
To build a strong case, you’ll need to take some important steps following your accident.
First, go to a safe area, such as the side of the road. Then, collect the defendant’s information including their name, phone number, insurance company name, and policy number. Get the make, model, and license from their vehicle, if you’re involved in a car accident.
Call the police to file a report and notify your insurance company. If there are any witnesses, ask them what they saw and get their contact information. Take photographs of your injuries and the damage to your car and/or other personal belongings.
It’s critical to go to a nearby hospital and let the doctor know about any pain you’re experiencing. Get X-rays and other tests done, and follow all the doctor’s orders.
Once you’re home, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer for help. They will work hard from the beginning to the end, whether they’re collecting your medical and police records, gathering evidence, negotiating with the insurance company, or looking over your release of all claims form.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, call Rafi Law Firm now at 404-948-3311 . We’re standing by and ready to assist you.