In short, NO!
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries resulting from a car accident or some other California accident, you likely know the stress and confusion that comes with dealing with insurance companies and their representatives.
When filing a personal injury claim following an accident, there are many legal requirements to be considered to collect the maximum compensation for your injuries and losses related to the accident. Therefore, accident victims must understand all of their legal options and the ramifications of signing an injury release form or any other related documents.
It is imperative that before signing any documents, particularly those supplied by the at-fault party’s insurance company, you consult a knowledgeable California personal injury lawyer who can provide you with guidance and protect your rights as an accident victim.
Related to an accident resulting in personal injury, a “release of all claims” document will be the most important form that you sign and such documents should never be signed without the guidance of a personal injury attorney.
What Does Release of All Claims Mean?
The term “release of all claims” means just what you would expect based on its name. A release of all claims absolves the at-fault party and their insurance company of any liability related to an accident. Once the injured party has signed a release of all claims form, that accident victim no longer has a legal right to pursue any legal claim against whoever was responsible for their injury.
The release of all claims form is a document that typically accompanies the settlement agreement in a personal injury case. Although this form is common in all settlement agreements, this form, and any related forms, should never be signed without consulting a personal injury lawyer. Signing a release of all claims forms without the guidance of an accident attorney can result in the loss of significant compensation that may be owed to you following an accident.
It should be no surprise that insurance companies are quick to get these forms to the accident victims involved in a claim, hoping that they will be signed by victims who do not have proper legal representation. Remember, the goal of an insurance company is to maximize profits by paying out as little money as possible to those filing accident injury claims.
Insurance companies do not typically offer all compensation that an accident victim is entitled to. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to make a low offer that will not cover significant damages, such as lost wages, pain & suffering, or future medical costs. When an accident victim signs a release of all claims form, they forfeit their right to file a claim for any additional damages.
Should An Accident Victim Sign a Release of All Claims Document?
Accident victims should only sign such documents after hiring a California personal injury lawyer to represent them in their claim. In most cases, an accident is settled without filing a lawsuit. That said, a settlement should never be made without an accident attorney’s legal advice and expertise. A California accident lawyer will be able to determine whether or not the compensation you will receive is fair and covers your damages.
When it comes to an accident claim, damages can include:
- current and future medical expenses
- lost wages
- pain & suffering
- lost earning capacity
- loss of consortium
- emotional distress
- other damages, depending on the nature of the accident and the claim
When you sign a release of all claims, you give up your right to seek compensation for all of these damages. Never sign a release of all claims until you know the total value of all related damages. When you sign a release of all claims forms too soon, you risk losing compensation that may be owed to you. An experienced accident attorney can help you determine the value of your damages, including an estimate of the cost of any future medical treatment or other future expenses related to your injury.
Take, for example, an accident victim who signs a release of all claims form just days after the accident but later finds out that the accident resulted in a traumatic brain injury. That individual would be solely responsible for covering any and all treatment costs related to the traumatic brain injury because they already signed a release of all claims.
What Does a Release of All Claims Include?
While every insurance company is different, some standard commonalities are associated with the documents that outline a release of all claims. Each document will contain a paragraph removing any obligation for the insurance company to provide you with additional money above the agreed-upon settlement amount. Furthermore, the form will state that, by signing the document, you give up your rights as the victim to file any lawsuits against the insurance company or the at-fault driver. Typically, these documents also include a statement that releases all parties from an admission of fault.
Contact An Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney Before Signing a Release of All Claims
At the Law Offices of Samer Habbas, our experienced personal injury attorneys will ensure that you will be adequately compensated for your injuries before you sign a release of all claims. Our accident claim experts will investigate all of the facts of your case to ensure that you or your loved one receives the compensation that is due and that all responsible parties are held accountable.
You can protect your rights or the rights of your loved ones by hiring an experienced California accident attorney. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact The Law Offices of Samer Habbas before signing any documents provided to you by the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Please call us at 888-848-5084 to discuss your case with an expert California, personal injury lawyer, or you can fill out our free consultation form.
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