At the time of settlement, the insurance company usually asks the claimant to sign a release form. As is true for any form, someone that lacks a full understanding of the form’s significance should not sign it.
What is the form’s significance?
It represents an agreement between 2 parties. One party, the claimant has agreed to release certain of his or her legal rights. Namely, he or she has promised not to pursue the right to sue the other party, the insurance company.
The signed document acts as proof that a specific legal matter, namely the dispute that arose, following the accident, has come to an end.
Steps that any claimants should take before signing that meaningful document
If the claimant has made a 3rd party claim, then he or she should seek permission to sign the release from his or her own insurance agency. That step would not be necessary, if the claimant were to make a 1st party claim.
Study what was written on the paper that needs to be signed. Check to see the number quoted as the settlement amount. Personal Injury Lawyer in Bedford will ask you to check on the details about the payment of that same amount.
Stay in touch with all injured victims. Find out if each of them has reached the point of his or her maximum medical improvement (MMI). If any one of them has failed to arrive at that point, the signing ought to be delayed.
Have a lawyer review the document that is supposed to be signed by the claimant. Lawyers can check such documents, and look for any wording that appears ready to force the claimant to sign away specific legal rights. Discovery of such wording should result in refusal to sign the poorly worded document.
Review details on accident. Focus on the issue of identifying the party at-fault. Could someone other than the defendant be held at-fault for reported event?
Besides deciding whether or not he or she might have reason to hold someone else responsible, claimants need to consider the answer to one other question. Is the claimant/plaintiff free to pursue a claim against that alternative party?
Releases that would be able to block the pursuit of such a pursuit should not be signed. The claimant’s signature on such a document would keep the signee from pursuing a legal claim against a legitimate defendant. That is the very thing that a review is supposed to prevent. That possibility highlights the role of parents or guardians, in those cases where a minor has been injured.