Common Mistakes When Signing Injury Settlement Releases
Let’s say that your case is coming to an end, and it turns out that the other side is making you an offer to settle your case that you are content with. At this point it’s all smooth sailing—you’ve agreed, and nothing more can possibly go wrong, right?
Well, not exactly because you still have to sign a settlement agreement, and there are a lot of mistakes that can still be made.
Many of these common mistakes that people make when they sign settlement agreements can be avoided by using a good personal injury attorney—these are mistakes that people can commonly make when they decide to represent themselves, or use attorneys that aren’t experienced in personal injury law.
Releasing Too Many People or Businesses– In exchange for paying you, the Defendant will want a release of liability. That’s normal. But often, Defendants try to get you to release too many people.
For example, they may want you to release “the defendant, its contractors, subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, directors, and managers.” They will sneak that language into your release and you could end up releasing more people or companies than you want to release.
Releasing Too Many Claims – Often, we sue companies that do a lot of different things, and the company wants a global release. For example, let’s say you fall in a Chase Bank. The bank then wants you to release it from “any and all claims.”
But Chase also may have your bank accounts. It may handle your mortgage. A Chase financial advisor may help you with retirement. But you have now released all of them, for every purpose, even those purposes totally unrelated to your fall.
Releasing Future Claims – Some savvy defendants will try to get you to agree to release any claims you could have in the future. You would need a crystal ball to do this; you have no idea what could happen in the future, and you don’t want to release any Defendant forever in perpetuity.
Indemnification – Defendants may say that they release you, but just in case someone sues them for releasing you, they want you to come to their aid and defend them (the Defendant). This is called indemnification. You should be very careful about agreeing to indemnify any Defendant.
Promises to Pay Off Your Own Expenses – The Defendant may want you to promise that you will pay off all expenses and liens related to your accident. And likely, you will have to pay these—but you don’t want to promise the Defendant you will do so, as a condition of settlement. Your bills are your business, and this could take away your right to challenge an expense you think is not legitimate or accurate.
Many people don’t know that a settlement agreement can, and should, be negotiated. Good representation can avoid problems in your personal injury case. Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 today.