Winning a personal injury claim or lawsuit comes with a huge sense of relief. The next step usually involves signing a settlement agreement form. This form, also known as a Release of Settlement Agreement, confirms that you've reached a settlement agreement with the other party. As a result, you agree not to pursue further claims against them.
Knowing where, when, and how to sign your settlement papers is an essential step in closing the case and securing the compensation you need and deserve. This article discusses two common ways of signing settlement papers.
If You Reach a Settlement Without an Attorney
If you win a claim or lawsuit without an attorney, the other party's insurance company will send the settlement agreement to you, usually via mail. This is a legally-binding document that explains the details of the agreement. You'll then be required to sign the agreement.
The insurance company or defendant will then notify the court that you've reached a settlement agreement with them. As a result, the court will ask them to process all required paperwork within 30 to 60 days after reaching the agreement. The exact timeline varies from state to state.
Release forms usually cover various aspects of the case in detail. For example, a typical Release form contains the following information:
Release of Liability
You'll be required to confirm that you've released the other party from any liability involving the injury in question. This also confirms that you will not pursue legal action against the other party even if you discover additional reasons to sue them. For example, if you sue the other party for your broken bones and then sign the Release, you may not sue them later if you discover that you also suffered brain damage due to the same injury.
Denial of Fault
The Release form may also mention that the defendant or insurance company does not admit fault even though they agree to pay the settlement amount.
Release of Claims
You'll not file any additional claims other than those already highlighted in the Release Form. This applies even if you later discover additional and legitimate reasons to file a claim against the insurance company or defendant for the same injury. Once the agreement has been signed and returned to the parties involved, you'll receive your check via mail.
While this seems like an easy process, many personal injury victims end up being frustrated when they eventually discover how much they're entitled to as compensation after deducting all expenses involved. This is where most injury victims wish they had hired an attorney.
If You Reach a Settlement With an Attorney
When you hire a personal injury attorney from Moran & Morgan to file the claim or lawsuit on your behalf, this decision alone significantly increases your chances of settling. Such an attorney understands the amount you deserve as compensation for your injury and how much you'll earn after all deductions.
An attorney will discuss the settlement offer with you in advance to avoid disappointments or surprises. For example, you'll understand the kind of deductions to expect before receiving the insurance company's check. Some common deductions from a personal injury settlement include:
Personal Injury Liens
When you win a settlement in a personal injury case, other parties may place a personal injury lien on the amount. A lien is a legal right to someone's assets.
For example, your medical provider may place a medical lien against your injury settlement. This comes as a complete shock for most personal injury victims because they don't expect to pay medical providers if their insurance companies have already settled the medical expenses.