Life after an auto accident in California can be complicated, especially if you suffered debilitating injuries that require medical attention. While you focus on your physical recovery, you’ll also need to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company of the at-fault party. Auto accidents often involve several documents, and you may feel pressured to sign them in order to speed up the process of getting your life back on track. Unfortunately, hastily signing documents can lead to lasting negative consequences, so make sure you fully understand the contents and ramifications before you commit your signature to paper. Here are a few reasons why you should refrain from signing one such document, the release of liability, following your auto accident in southern California.
Forfeiting Your Right to Negotiate a Fair Settlement
After you’ve alerted the insurance companies of the at-fault parties about the auto accident, insurance adjusters will investigate your claim to determine how much—if any—compensation you are entitled to receive. In your stressed and overwhelmed state, it’s easy to accept their initial settlement offer so that you can move on with your life. To receive this compensation, you’ll be asked to sign a release of liability document that is easy to gloss over and sign without fully understanding what it means. Some people even sign this form before they receive the initial offer, forfeiting their right to negotiate a settlement later on. It’s imperative to recognize that signing a release of liability document permanently closes your claim, making it impossible for you to ask for a fairer settlement.
Preventing You From Taking Your Claim to Court
Signing a release of liability form also takes away your right to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or their insurance company. Some car accident victims assume that they will receive enough money through the initial settlement, so they quickly sign this document in hopes of receiving compensation as soon as possible. Unfortunately, they may discover that this settlement is not nearly enough to cover the expensive medical bills and other costs incurred by the accident—but they’ve already forfeited their right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Speak to a Riverside County Attorney Before You Sign a Release of Liability
Even if you do not work with an auto accident attorney during the initial phase of your settlement negotiations, it’s a good idea to consult with one before you sign any documents from an insurance company. Your attorney can review the contents of the documents with your best interests in mind and make sure you understand the implications of signing them. Together, you can determine the most successful path forward to ensuring that you obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you have been injured in an auto accident in the Temecula or Murrieta area and you need help collecting compensation, contact Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation at 1-888-931-WORK (9675) today to discuss your options with a knowledgeable auto accidents lawyer.