What Is a Car Accident Release?
A car accident release, also known as a liability release or a settlement agreement, is a legal document that is often used to resolve legal claims or disputes arising from a car accident. It is typically an agreement between the parties involved in the accident, where one party (usually the injured person or their representative) agrees to release the other party (usually the at-fault driver or their insurance company) from any further liability or claims related to the accident.
When you receive the release from the car insurance company, do not sign it until you have taken the following five things into consideration.
1. Get Permission from Your Car Insurance Company Before Signing the Release
You may need your car insurance company’s permission before signing the release. This is due to a legal concept called subrogation, which is very important in car accident cases, especially underinsured motorist cases. Here’s how it works.
Imagine you’re involved in a car accident with another driver whose car insurance policy limits aren’t enough to fully compensate you for your losses. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, your car insurance company should make up the difference, up to your UIM limits. Your car insurance company will then use the subrogation provision in your car insurance policy to recover (or, more realistically, attempt to recover) the difference directly from the other driver.
Your car insurance company is using your legal right to go after the other driver to receive reimbursement for the underinsured coverage payment it just gave to you; this is how subrogation works. However, should you sign a release without your car insurance company’s permission, your car insurance company’s ability to go after the other driver is now gone. As a result, your insurance company may try to deny your underinsured motorist coverage claim.
2. Make Sure You Understand What You’re Signing
Legal documents can be intimidating, and you may feel like there’s no point in reading the release if you won’t be able to understand it. However, you will probably understand more of it than you might think, especially the most important terms— such as the settlement amount and the details of the settlement payment.
Additionally, don’t take the word of the car insurance company’s representative as to what the terms of the release are. Always check it over yourself to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
3. Make Sure the Settlement Money Covers All Injuries and Damages
Just because you feel fine and all your medical and repairs bills are fully covered by the settlement check, that doesn’t mean you have been fully compensated. Many injuries from car accidents aren’t discovered until a period of time after the crash. That last thing you want to do is agree to a settlement of $20,000 for medical bills when a month later it turns out you need another $10,000 in medical treatment for injuries that have only recently presented symptoms. Remember that once you sign the release, you can’t get anything else from the other driver or the other driver’s car insurance company.
4. Have an Attorney Review the Release
Not only will an experienced attorney be able to explain exactly what the release says and answer any questions you may have, but there may be certain legal rights you aren’t aware of that will vanish if you sign the release. Your attorney will point these out for you.
For example, let’s say you confirmed with your doctor and mechanic that the car insurance company’s settlement amount is enough to pay for all your repairs and medical bills. But you may have valid claims for other losses that you may have overlooked or failed to consider, such as lost wages or pain and suffering. You won’t know for sure unless you have an attorney review the release and ask you the right questions.
5. Determine If Anyone Else Could Be Responsible for the Accident
This tends to be an issue when more than one person or entity is responsible for the accident. For instance, let’s say you have a release that only applies to a commercial truck driver that hit you. The settlement amount isn’t enough to fully compensate you, but you’re not sure if you should reject the release and file a lawsuit to try to recover the full amount. If it turns out that you have legal claims against the commercial truck driver’s employer and another individual driver, you might be more willing to sign the release.
Spanish Speaking Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
Spanish-speaking individuals can have a more difficult time seeking justice in their personal injury cases due to language barriers. This causes them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you.
We make it easy for those who have been injured due to the actions of others to navigate the legal system in order to get the results they need to continue on in their lives. Schedule your no-obligation car accident consultation with Attorney Caruthers today. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure your needs are being met and that you are getting the treatment you deserve in your car accident case. Don’t hesitate, the sooner you call the more we can do to get you results.
Houston Car Accident Attorney for Wrongful Death Suit
Have you lost someone in a motor vehicle accident and are now seeking monetary damages? Surviving family members may be eligible for financial compensation by winning a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work due to a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you!
Our team works hard to bring the most efficient and practical solutions to your car accident case. Beverly R. Caruthers proudly serves and defends the Greater Houston area including but not limited to Baytown, Conroe, Crosby, Humble, Huntsville, Lake Jackson, Missouri City, Pasadena, Spring, Tomball.