Once you have reached a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance in a personal injury case, you will likely be sent a release of all claims form to sign before the insurance company will send you a settlement check. You may have questions regarding this form: What is it? Am I required to sign it? What legal ramifications does it have? A knowledgeable lawyer can answer all your queries about this binding legal document.
What Is Included in a Release of All Claims Form?
The liable party provides a release of all claims forms to the plaintiff before the payment of the settlement. When you sign this document, you agree to release the responsible party from any further liability or claims in return for the agreed-upon settlement amount. The basic information that should be documented in the form includes:
- Identification of the parties involved
- Relevant law that is being cited in the claim
- Essential details of the accident
- Descriptions of which claims are being released, for example, bodily injury vs. property damage claims for the same accident
- Settlement details
Why Do You Have to Sign a Release of All Claims Form?
While each insurance company has its own specific release of all claims forms, they all have some similarities. In nearly all cases, you must sign a release of all claims form before the insurance company sends your payment. That is because this form contains important legal information, such as:
- A statement that you are giving up your right to sue the other party and their insurance company
- An agreement that there is no further obligation by the defendant or their insurance to pay for your injuries and damages after this settlement, even if you find additional damages
- A clarification that this settlement is not an admission of fault
- In some cases, a non-disclosure agreement
Why Should You Consult With a Lawyer Before Signing the Form?
To protect yourself, you should never sign any legal documents, including a release of all claims forms, without consulting a trusted personal injury lawyer first. Once the form is signed, it is legally binding, and you cannot change your mind, even if you discover further injuries. A lawyer can carefully read through the document with you. It will ensure that it correctly records the circumstances of the incident and provides a fair settlement for all current and future economic and non-economic damages related to the accident.
Your lawyer can fully explain the consequences of signing the form. If you are sure that you agree with the terms, you may sign it and send it to the insurance company in return for your settlement. If you disagree with anything within the form, your lawyer can continue negotiations to adjust the settlement. If you have specific questions about your release of all claims forms, call our law office at (949) 749-7402.