Should I Sign a Release of Liability Form After a Car Accident?

Before you collect any compensation for injuries in a car accident, the insurance company will require you to sign its release of liability form. Many people make the mistake of signing that form too soon after the accident and before all of their losses and damages are determined.

If you have been injured in a car crash in Pennsylvania or West Virginia, call us to speak with a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney. We will provide the guidance and information you need to handle insurance company settlements and releases of liability.

The insurance company will inevitably want you to accept its first offer and to sign its release quickly. Our lawyers can help you to slow down this process and to negotiate the largest available settlement that accounts for all of your injuries and future injury-related costs and expenses.

What is the Legal Effect of a Release of Liability Form?

A release of liability is a legal contract that specifies the full and final amount of your insurance claim. It binds you to an agreement not to seek any additional insurance payments or to file a lawsuit for your damages.

When you sign that form without considering all of your losses and expenses, you are giving up all of your rights and opportunities to seek a larger amount of damages. For example, you might not be compensated for future medical expenses, lost wages, costs for occupational or rehabilitative therapy, or any payments for pain and suffering.

How Should You Respond if an Insurance Company Pressures You to Sign?

Insurance companies have teams of claims adjusters and lawyers who have extensive experience in dealing with claimants who are seeking payments for car accident injuries.

That tilts the playing field in the insurance company’s favor. It can make a claimant feel like they have no options other than accepting the insurer’s first offer and signing a liability release.

The best mechanism to level the playing field is to retain a lawyer who has equal experience in filing, negotiating, and prosecuting injury claims with the insurance companies– that are obligated to pay compensation.

How Will a Lawyer Help You?

They can manage all aspects of your damages claim– including:

  • assessing the facts surrounding your accident and your injuries to evaluate the value;
  • negotiating with insurers for the largest available insurance reimbursement;
  • once a reasonable settlement has been offered, reviewing liability and claims release forms to verify that you are not forfeiting any rights;
  • confirming that the release form does not place any fault for the accident on you.

What if the Insurance Company Does Not Offer an Acceptable Settlement?

Many car accident claims are settled with insurers before any lawsuits are filed.  However, if the insurer refuses to pay the full amount of damages that an injured party is entitled to receive– that party will have to file a lawsuit to recover those damages.

Liability and claims release forms, however, require claimants to agree not to file lawsuits to recover additional compensation. Because of this, you should only sign that form if you are completely satisfied with the settlement offer that the insurance company has made.

You can file your lawsuit for the full amount of your damages if the insurer does not offer an acceptable settlement, but only if you have not signed the insurer’s release form.

Contact us today

We have honed our skills in negotiating with automobile liability insurers to recover the largest available compensation for losses and damages.

We strongly encourage all car accident victims not to sign any insurance company release of liability or release of claims forms before they consult with us. Please see our website or call us for a no-fee consultation with a Pittsburgh car accident attorney about your insurance recovery options.

 

Resources:

  1. findlaw.com: Before You Sign a Car Accident Settlement Release Form. https://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/before-you-sign-a-car-accident-settlement-agreement-form.html
  2. findlaw.com: What is a ‘Release of All Claims’ Form? https://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/what-is-a-release-of-all-claims-form.html
  3. eforms.com: Car Accident Release of Liability Form (Settlement Agreement) https://eforms.com/release/car-accident/