There’s a whirlwind of activity that follows a
car accident as all parties involved prepare to protect themselves. If you’ve
been involved in an accident caused by another driver’s negligent
driving, it is likely that you will be contacted by their insurance company.
The company may send you forms to sign, including a medical authorization
release, a release of all liability and claims, and a property damage
release. Before you reach for a pen, you should contact your lawyer. Learn
more about these documents, and why you should consult with your attorney
before signing them.
Medical Authorization Release
Your injuries and treatment will be the most important factor when it comes
to determining the amount of compensation you will receive after your
accident. The negligent driver’s insurance company should pay you
for your medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages, such as
pain and suffering. Signing a medical authorization release gives insurance
companies access to your entire medical history, including information
that may be used to attack your claim.
If you sign a medical authorization release, insurance companies will be
able to see your:
Prior medical history, including old injuries or complaints that may be used to discredit the
injuries sustained in the accident.
Doctor’s notes, including statements that may contradict or be inconsistent with the claimed injuries.
Visit history, including how frequently you visit your doctor, visits to specialists,
and non-related health issues that can be used to prove that you were
in poor health before the accident.
Release of All Claims and Liability
To settle your case, a release of all claims and liability must be signed
at some point, but that doesn’t mean you should hurry to sign and
submit this document. Once the signed document has been received by the
insurance company, your claim will be permanently closed, and you will
have no recourse if the settlement amount wasn’t large enough to
cover your needs. It is important to ensure that you will receive an adequate
settlement amount before submitting a release of all claims and liability.
Your attorney can prepare a final release for you, which will ensure that
all the terms are correct.
The release of all claims and liability will contain:
- The names of all who were involved in the accident, including you, the
other driver, and the other driver’s insurance company.
- A statement regarding the accident and your injuries, which will include
the date of the accident.
- The dollar amount of your personal injury settlement
- Any agreements regarding the payment of specific medical bills or debts
resulting from the accident.
- A statement that you are releasing the other driver and their insurance
company from future claims of liability or damages from the accident.
Property Damage Release
The damage to your vehicle is also an important expense after an accident.
You may lose your transportation while you wait for repairs, and dealing
with insurance may make the wait even longer. There are two ways that
your property damage claim will be handled, depending on the amount of
damage your vehicle sustained.
If your car is totaled, the insurance company is likely to make you an offer based on the market
value of your vehicle in pre-accident condition. Your car is considered
totaled when the cost to repair the vehicle is more expensive than the
value of the car. If this is the case, you will receive a check or a property
damage release from the insurance company. Once the check is cashed or
the release is signed, your claim will be closed.
If your car is not totaled, the insurance company will pay for repairs. Generally, you will be able
to take your car to the repair shop of choice, and the insurance company
will pay the shop directly for repairs. Typically, a release or a check
will not be issued to you if your car is repaired. You will only need
to sign off on any repairs estimated by the body shop.
The Importance of Legal Representation
You may feel that a car accident claim is something you can handle on your
own, but mistakes in handling your claim can cost you the full amount
your injury deserves. An experienced car accident attorney can help you
prove that you deserve the maximum amount of compensation available and
can help you navigate the process of your settlement. Your lawyer will
advocate for your needs and can guide the negotiation process to help
you reach an agreement that you are satisfied with.
Our team at
The Barrera Law Firm, PLLC is committed to being a voice for injured victims of car accidents. We
have more than 35 years of combined experience to defend your claims,
and we seek to represent your best interests with personalized client service.
Contact our Alexandria car accident attorneys today to request a
free case evaluation.