What Is an Auto Accident Release Form?
If you’re a car accident victim, you can expect to receive compensation for your injuries through the insurance claims process. If you aren’t satisfied with the result, you can attempt to recover a better award by suing the at-fault driver or the insurance company responsible for that driver’s liabilities.
Many cases do not proceed to court because the mere threat of a suit is often enough to get an at-fault driver to pay for a victim’s damages. If the at-fault driver knows that there is strong, admissible evidence of her negligence, it’s in her interest to settle and accept liability for the accident while avoiding the expense and inconvenience of a trial.
When You Settle an Accident Claim, You Have to Sign a Release Form
An auto accident release form is written proof of a settlement agreement by which you, the accident victim, accept money in exchange for not suing or attempting to recover from an at-fault driver.
The agreement will usually state that you assume the risk of all unknown or unanticipated results of the accident in addition to those you know of or anticipate at the time of the agreement. This means that neither you nor anyone representing your interests can ever sue or recover from the other party for damages relating in any way to the accident—no matter when they arise.
Depending on the facts of your case, your life situation, and unanticipated developments in the future, signing a release form may or may not prove to be a good decision.
You Assume the Risk of Future Damages
In the aftermath of an accident, you may not be able to accurately assess the extent of your injuries and how they could affect your health, work, and personal life in the future. Thus, signing a release form shortly after an accident is a gamble.
Your injuries could deteriorate or cause other conditions requiring expensive medical treatment. Alternatively, the accident could give you anxiety, depression, or past traumatic stress that could affect your job performance.
These medical expenses and lost wages are damages that you can recover from an at-fault driver. By signing an accident release form, you are foreclosing the possibility of getting compensation for future or long-term losses.
It’s Not Always the Right Time to Settle
An early offer might signal there is room to negotiate. If an at-fault party seems eager for you to accept money in exchange for giving up your claim, you can almost always obtain more than their initial offer. Further, it will be in your interest to take the time to accurately determine and document your damages.
Do you want to know more about when it’s be in your interest to settle with another driver? Give the lawyers from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. a call at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation of your case.