What is a Car Accident Release Form?
Understanding your rights after a vehicle accident is critical. As an accident victim, you need to know that there are various parties that will try to contact you. This can include your insurance carrier, claims adjuster of the other drivers’ insurance carrier(s), bill collectors, and even investigators. It is crucial that you are careful about what you say to any other person after an accident occurs. You also need to be wary about what people ask you to sign. The best way to protect yourself in the aftermath of a crash caused by another driver is to seek assistance from a skilled Sacramento car accident attorney who can help you through this. Here, we want to discuss what a car accident release form is so you can be better prepared if a crash does occur.
Car Accident Release Forms in California
A car accident release form is a document that an insurance carrier will ask you to sign before they send you a settlement check to pay for your damages and injuries. This form releases the paying insurance company from any future liability for the accident in question. In other words, if you sign the release form so you can receive the settlement check, there will be no way to go back later on and ask for more money, regardless of whether or not your injuries or damages are worse than you initially thought.
Because you will be unable to receive any additional compensation after signing a release form, it is critical that you do not accept a settlement until after you reach what doctors consider maximum medical improvement. Additionally, you should work with an attorney who can help properly calculate your total losses before you reach an agreement with the insurance carrier.
We also want to point out that a release form may only be one type of document the insurance carrier is trying to get you to sign. There may be various forms that they send you with the words “authorization” or “release” that the claims adjuster says are critical for you to sign. Again, you need to work with an attorney who can examine these forms before you sign them. By signing these forms, you could be unknowingly signing away various rights that you have related to the case.
Do You Have to Sign a Release Form?
This is a tricky question because the answer is “yes” and “no.” We want you to know that you should not sign a release form right away after a crash occurs. There is simply no way for any person to fully understand whether or not they are being fairly compensated for their injuries or property damage right after the incident. On that note, no, you should not sign a release form right away. Some of the other reasons that you should lead you to not signing the release form right away include:
- The initial settlement offer is too low
- The initial settlement offer does not include all of the damages
- You are not sure if you have reached maximum medical improvement
However, you will have to sign a release form if you intend to reach a settlement for the car accident case without filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Signing a release form is not always bad, but it should only be done if the settlement is favorable on your behalf.