Dealing with the fallout from a serious auto accident can be an extremely stressful, arduous and sometimes protracted process that leaves victims feeling utterly overwhelmed. Obtaining appropriate medical treatment, securing a replacement vehicle and struggling to catch up on missed work sometimes causes injured parties to make hasty, ill-advised decisions in order to simply bring the unpleasant chapter to a close. The pressure often applied by insurance adjusters wishing to settle a claim for the least amount possible can also leave victims without sufficient resources to fully recover. If an at-fault driver's insurance carrier has presented you with a release in the aftermath of an accident, attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is prepared to help assess your options, evaluate your losses and provide the legal insights necessary to make smart choices about your future.
How a Release Works
In essence, a “release” is a document that an insurance carrier will present to an accident victim in exchange for the latter party's agreement to accept an offer of compensation related to the event in question. The act of signing a release serves to permanently waive the victim's right to pursue any further claims or seek additional relief. Documents of this type are indeed aptly named, as they do in fact release the at-fault driver and his or her insurer from all potential liability, even that which may be discovered well into the future. In some cases, a release will be sent to the claimant for signature together with a settlement check, though there will likely be a stipulation that the check may not be cashed until the document is executed and returned. In most cases, however, insurance carriers do not tender settlement checks until they are in receipt of a properly signed release.
Assessing the Quality of a Settlement Offer
Knowing whether or not it is wise to sign a release following an auto accident can be a challenge, particularly for those without a great deal of experience negotiating damage settlements with insurers. There are many factors at play which can complicate the process, including the amount of damage done to the victim's vehicle, the type of injuries sustained, the details and duration of medical treatment likely to be necessary and other similar considerations. Because some categories of loss stemming from a car accident can be extremely difficult for victims to assess and accurately value, it makes good sense to seek the guidance of an accident attorney who understands the complexities of injury claims and who will work tirelessly to make sure that all damages are fully and fairly compensated.
Potentially Unintended Consequences of Signing
Though it may be tempting to quickly settle a claim and sign a release in order to receive payment, there are some potential pitfalls of which accident victims should be aware. For instance, in cases where an injured driver intends to use his or her uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as a means to make up the difference after the at-fault driver's policy limits are exhausted, execution of a waiver may jeopardize the victim's ability to collect. This is because, the waiver, if signed without prior carrier approval, will prevent the victim's insurance company from subsequently pursuing reimbursement from the at-fault driver, something which may prompt them to deny the secondary claim altogether.
The Vital Role of a Colorado Injury Advocate
Premature signing of an insurance company waiver of claims can lead to real suffering that only compounds the negative impact of an auto accident. Failing to secure the full amount of compensation owed by an at-fault driver and forfeiting the right to pursue additional damages as they become apparent can leave entire families in true financial peril. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is prepared to conduct a thorough examination of the facts of your accident, facilitate accurate valuation of the total harm you have suffered and fight to ensure that you receive the monetary recovery you deserve. To start the process of safeguarding your rights, contact us at 303.825.2223.