Has the insurance company asked you to sign a “release of all claims form” to settle your car accident personal injury claim?
Also known as a “liability waiver,” a release of all claims form should never be signed or agreed to until you have a complete and thorough understanding of the injuries and total damages you sustained as a result of your car accident.
What is a Release of All Claims Form?
In short, a release of all claims form is a legal document absolving the insurance company and defendant(s) from any further liability for a plaintiff’s injuries or damages.
Traditionally, insurance companies ask car accident victims to sign a release of all claims form in exchange for receiving an agreed-upon amount of compensation to resolve a personal injury claim and release them from any future claims of liability related to the collision.
In other words, once a release of all claims form is signed by the plaintiff, the case is considered settled and closed.
(In rare exceptions, a case may potentially be re-opened if it’s proven that a bad faith claim exists, e.g., the insurance company has committed fraud.)
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In addition to releases and liability waivers, insurance companies often send car accident victims a variety of forms and papers to sign throughout the duration of the claims process. For this reason, it’s important to know exactly what each document means and how they can affect a person’s legal rights.
And while car accident release forms and liability waivers may differ between insurance companies, the information may include some, all, or more than the following:
- Names and addresses of the plaintiff and defendant(s) involved in the car accident.
- Detailed review of the car accident.
- Summary of the personal injury case/legal dispute.
- Summary of the plaintiffs claimed damages, e.g., bodily injuries, psychological impact, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
- Detailed account of the agreed upon settlement and payment amount.
- Additional legal terms, e.g., confidentiality agreement, etc.
Even when car accident victims believe they fully understand the implications of signing a release of all claims form, there are scenarios that can still catch them by surprise.
You May Want to Wait Before Signing a Release of All Claims Form
In addition to focusing on treatment for their injuries, many car accident victims will be facing medical bills, lost time at work, collection calls, etc. In these instances, it can be tempting for folks to sign a release when an insurance company offers a check for thousands of dollars, especially shortly after the accident.
However, attorney Matt Boulton has witnessed a number of injured Hoosiers who signed a release only to question their decision weeks or months later. What gave them second thoughts? In the majority of cases, it was due to an injury.
In these instances, a victim may initially believe they were fully healed before signing the release, but now find that they require additional treatment for new, re-emerging, or worsening injuries related to their car accident.
Typically, once a release of liability form has been singed, the insurance company is under no obligation to pay for any additional/future treatment, bills, or damages, related to the car accident.
Before You Sign a Car Accident Release Form
Again, liability release forms typically signal the official and legal closure of a personal injury claim, which means the insurance company and defendant are not liable for any future damages and the case cannot be re-opened.
For this reason, Boulton Law Group recommends Indiana car accident victims consider the following before signing a release of all claims form:
- Is it fair? If a car accident victim is unsure what their case is worth, they could be settling for less than they deserve.
- Is the amount in the release the actual agreed upon dollar amount?
- Is there an itemized breakdown of the total damages?
- Have you been fully released by your doctors and reached maximum recovery?
- Has an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney reviewed the release?
- Do you have a complete understanding of your legal rights under Indiana law?
And while these are important considerations, every Indiana car accident claim is unique, meaning there can be additional factors that make up a release and/or the outcome of a victim’s case.
As such, you may wish to have an experienced Indiana car accident attorney review your claim and provide you with their thoughts.
About Boulton Law Group
Boulton Law Group is an award-winning, Indiana personal injury law firm that represents Hoosier car accident victims throughout the entire state.
Founded and led by attorney Matt Boulton, the firm is sought after by Indiana accident victims who seek personal care and individual legal strategies. In fact, Matt built the firm upon a foundation that ensures each client is treated like family.
In addition to the firm’s focus on client happiness, Boulton Law Group offers every injured Hoosier and their families a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means no one is ever charged for a review of their personal injury case, and the firm receives nothing until a recovery is made on your behalf.
If you’re unsure about signing a release of all claims form following a car accident, don’t sign it until Matt has reviewed it on your behalf. You can contact us by using our confidential, free contact form.