What Is a Release of Liability?
In simple terms, a release of liability is a legal document whereby you give up your rights to make future claims related to an accident claim. Release of liability forms are used in all personal injury cases. Any time you have been injured by the negligent, careless, or reckless behavior or acts of another person or party, the insurance company for the at-fault party will ask you to sign a release of liability. Therefore, the short answer to the question of whether you should sign a release of liability in your personal injury case is "NO. Not until you consult an experienced personal injury attorney."
A Few FAQs About a Release of Liability
- Once you sign a release of liability in any accident claim, you give up your right to sue the at-fault party for any future damages resulting from the accident. For example, the doctor discovers an additional injury that will require surgery and a long recovery period with physical therapy. Because you signed the release of liability, you will bear the cost of this additional surgery and recovery yourself.
- However, if you sign a release of liability against one party, this does not prevent you from suing another at-fault party provided the release does not cover all parties who are at fault for your accident. For example, you can sign a release of liability for a truck driver only but still sue the trucking company for damages.
- An insurance company will require you to sign a release of liability before the company will pay any compensation for your accident.
- If your own insurance company is paying you compensation for an accident, you must still sign a release of liability to receive those funds.
- A release of liability is legally binding on all parties to the release; therefore, you cannot change your mind once you sign the release.
- Insurance companies often push accident victims to accept a quick settlement because they know once the release of liability is signed, the accident victim cannot ask for any further compensation.
What Should You Do Before Signing a Release of Liability?
The number one thing you should do before signing a release of liability is get a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. Your injury attorney can help ensure that you are receiving the maximum compensation allowable by law for your claim. Your attorney will advise that you do not accept a claim until your doctor has said you have reached "maximum medical recovery." In other words, you have healed as much as you ever will from the accident.
The experienced Harrisburg personal injury attorneys of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLP represent hundreds of accident victims. Our attorneys have the experience, skill, and knowledge you need to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Do not allow an insurance company, adjusters, or attorney rush you into an early settlement - contact our office to ensure you are not being taken advantage of by a big insurance company that only cares about its bottom line.