If you’ve negotiated with the insurance company on your own, agreed on a settlement amount and are about to sign a settlement release, there are some key things you need to be aware of:
First, there are certain rights you are likely giving up. For instance, let’s say that in a few months you discover that you need further legal action to help pay for injuries from your accident, and you decide that you need to hire an attorney. Odds are, because of the signed settlement release that’s in place, there will be little, if anything, that can be done-even with an attorney on your side.
The reason for that is because a settlement release is a document that finalizes your accident claim. Essentially, you agree to terminate your claim, and in exchange, the insurance company agrees to pay the settlement amount that was negotiated.
Problem is, most settlement releases are written in a way that precludes you from reopening the case or filing an additional lawsuit for your injuries. You may be able to obtain an open-ended settlement release that would enable you to file for compensation for future medical expenses, but those types of releases are rare.
So, what’s the big takeaway here? If you’re about to sign a settlement release, you must read every word of the document and clearly understand exactly what your rights are moving forward and what you’re agreeing to. And, you have to be sure that the settlement amount covers not only your current medical expenses, but also any potential future expenses.