When Should I Sign a Release After Being Injured in an Accident?
Have you been injured an accident that has caused you pain and suffering, lost wages and expensive medical bills? Is the liable insurance company putting pressure on you to accept an offer and sign a release? If so, here is some basic information to help you know when you should sign a release after being injured in an accident.
Why Insurance Companies Want You to Settle Early
Ever wonder why insurance companies make such an effort to settle with you early? The answer is simple: in order to accept a settlement, you will be required to sign a release absolving the insurance company of any future liability for your injuries and precluding you from reopening your claim and seeking more money for future medical expenses if the need arises.
When an insurance company is sure that it has an obligation to compensate you for your injuries, they will send an insurance adjuster to speak with you right away. The main purpose of that visit will be to settle your injury claim and get you to sign a release immediately.
It is not uncommon for you to receive a settlement offer as early as your first meeting with an adjuster. However, this offer is likely to be based on the assumption that you will need little or no more medical attention for your injuries. So, by signing a release too soon, you can be relinquishing your right to pursue adequate and fair compensation for your injuries.
Taking the Time to Fully Evaluate Your Injuries
Some injuries can be long lasting or permanent and your prognosis for recovery can be difficult to diagnose early on. So, until you and your physician have had ample time to thoroughly evaluate your injuries and have a good idea of how much medical treatment, rehabilitation, and/or long term care you will need, you should not accept a settlement offer or sign any release.
Don’t feel pressured to sign a release too soon. Keep in mind that you don’t have to accept any offer if you don’t believe that it is fair. You can simply let the adjuster know that you are not ready to sign a release and that you will get back to him as soon as possible with a settlement suggestion that you believe will be fair, considering the circumstances of your case and the full extent of your injuries. Then, when you do get back to them with an offer that you believe is fair, you will have the medical records and doctor’s prognosis to support your settlement demands.
It is in the insurance company’s best interest to settle your claim as soon as possible because it can save them money. For you, however, settling and signing a release too soon can have quite unfortunate consequences: you may be grossly under compensated for your injuries and left holding the bag for any future medical expenses you incur. For this reason, you should never sign a release after an accident until you know the full extent of your injuries and your long-term prognosis for recovery.
Lastly, it takes years of experience in personal injury law to properly evaluate the strengths and weakness of a personal injury claim and to know what that claim is worth. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in obtaining full compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. So, before accepting or making any offer to settle your injury claim, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.