You will have to face many different adversaries as a car accident victim. Some will pretend that they’re on your side, such as a car insurance company. It is critical, however, to recognize that the only person you can trust after a car accident is your car accident lawyer. All other parties – including insurance companies, claims adjusters, bill collectors and investigators – may try to take advantage of you. One tactic often used by insurance companies is trying to get you to sign away your rights with a car accident release form.
A car accident release form in Colorado, also known as a liability release waiver, is a legal document that an auto insurance company will require you to sign before releasing a settlement check to cover your medical bills and property damage. As the name implies, this form releases the insurance company from all further liability for the car accident and your related losses. This means that you will be unable to hold the insurance company further accountable for the same accident in the future.
Car accident release forms are typically irreversible. They effectively close a car accident case and seal it, meaning it cannot be reopened. With only rare exceptions – such as for administrative errors – you cannot take back a signed release waiver or renegotiate for a higher settlement amount from the insurance company. Even if you discover later that your injuries will cost more than you originally thought, you cannot reopen a closed car accident case after signing a release form. This is why it is critical to fully understand what you’re doing before you sign.
Eventually, you will have to sign the release form if you wish to obtain a settlement for a car accident in Colorado. You do not have to sign it, however, at the insurance company’s behest. Do not allow a car insurance company to rush you into signing a release waiver – or any paperwork, for that matter – until you’ve taken the time to understand your case and talk to a car accident lawyer. You have the right to take as much time as you need to obtain legal advice, no matter what the insurance company says. Don’t fall for scare tactics, such as the insurance company telling you that this is its best or final offer.
Most attorneys will recommend against signing a car accident release form when it is initially sent to you. Since this form signs away your rights to negotiate further with an insurer, it is important to take your time before signing. For example, you should reach your point of maximum medical improvement. This is the time when your doctor believes you will not recover any further from your injuries. It is important to wait until you reach this point before you sign a release form so that you don’t make the mistake of accepting an insurance settlement that is too low.
If a car insurance company sends you a release form to sign, bring it to a car insurance lawyer in Denver right away. You can trust the advice and opinions you receive from a lawyer, as he or she is legally and ethically obligated to act in your best interest. A lawyer will review the settlement offered and let you know if it seems fair and adequate based on the extent of your injuries and related losses. If not, a lawyer may offer to take over negotiations with the insurance company to demand greater compensation.
Your lawyer will make sure that you aren’t missing any collectable damages on your claim and that the insurer isn’t devaluing your claim in bad faith. If a car insurance company still refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, your lawyer can take your case to court to fight for better results. Having a lawyer on your side during the insurance process can help you avoid signing a release form prematurely. Contact The Fang Law Firm today for more information.