When Should An Accident Victim Sign A Release?

Copyright (c) 2009 Michael Schafer

You should never sign a release without having it reviewed by your attorney. Once you sign a release for your car accident case it is over. You can not open up again ever. If you are signing a release early on in your case that is for the damage to your car make sure it states for property damage only, but it is best to have your attorney look at it before you sign it. Let me give you an example of the devastating affect the signing of a release early on in your accident case can have.

Marie came in to my office several years ago. She had just been to an orthopedic surgeon who had told her that she was in need of back surgery. She was going to need to have a surgical fusion performed on two discs in her neck to relieve pain in that area and her shoulders that had become unbearable. After we discussed her medical condition and recommended procedures we had a discussion as to what had caused her pain. Marie told me that she had been in an auto accident a year and a half prior. She was rear ended while she was stopped at a traffic light. There was less than a thousand dollars of property damage to Marie’s car. She did not feel any pain immediately following the accident. She woke up the next morning and her neck was a little stiff, but she didn’t think much about it. She figured it was one of those things that would go away.

When the insurance company came out to take a look at the damage to Marie’s car the adjuster took a look at the damage and gave her a check for $833.00 on the spot. The adjuster also asked Marie if she was hurt. She told him that her neck hurt a little but she thought it would go away. The insurance adjuster then offered Marie $1,000.00 for her pain and suffering. Marie needed the money and agreed. She signed some papers and got a check. Now she was in my office wanting to sue the driver that hit her and asking me what we could do about her neck surgery.

Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do for Marie. The papers she had signed were a release. It said for $1,000.00 she was releasing the driver and the insurance company from any responsibility for the accident. Once this was done Marie could never get another dime from them. Her case could not be opened up ever again. Marie did not get a fair and just settlement.

Post time: 04-09-2017