Car accidents are often stressful and annoying.
So, it’s understandable if you want to put it behind you and get on with your life as soon as possible. However, settling for the first offer is rarely a wise decision. You should always make sure that you have an extensive and complete list of the damages and medical bills before you accept a settlement from the insurance company.
Here are the six most important things to go through before signing a release.
The Settlement Amount
Signing a release document usually means that you and the insurance company have reached an agreement about the final amount that you will receive. Any other claims you will make after signing the release will be unfounded. Make sure the settlement covers all your expenses, including future ones.
Calculating the settlement is a complicated thing. That’s why we recommend going through it with a St. Louis auto accident attorney who knows what to expect from such a case. The final amount will depend on your injuries, other types of damages, and the percentage of fault each driver holds.
Details of the Settlement Payment
Besides including the settlement amount, the release document should contain details about how and when the settlement will be paid. A lot of people think that they will instantly receive their money after a settlement has been signed, but there usually is some waiting time.
Your settlement check will most probably be sent after you sign the release papers and send them to the insurance company. Before you can actually use the settlement money, your attorney will extract his or her fees, and any debts that you might have towards a medical provider.
Usually, the nature of the case will influence the details of the payment. It’s important to have this information written in the release paper.
Release of Claims
The most important part for the insurance company is to be released from any further duties. This means that, once you have signed a release paper, you have no right to pursue the claim further or ask for any coverage of unpredicted future costs. This is why you should not take the first offer from the insurance company, and not settle too early in the case.
Some insurance companies include a confidentiality clause in the release document, which means that you are not allowed to talk about the details of the case or the document unless it’s required by a court and you have notified the insurance company about it.
Through this section of the release document, it’s mentioned that you are responsible for paying the federal, state or local taxes corresponding with the settlement amount you will receive.
Indemnity and Hold Harmless
Also called a release of liability, this is exactly what the “hold harmless” clause does: it absolves the insurance company of any future liability. This protects it from being sued after the release has been signed.
These are the most common six terms and expressions you will find in a release document after reaching a car accident settlement. If you have any doubts or questions about it, get in touch with our legal team for legal advice 24/7 and make sure to sign only after you fully understand all of the details of what you are signing.