Should I release my car to the insurance company?
Insurance companies are businesses, meaning that their main goal is to make money. While not all insurance companies are evil or out to get you, all of them do put their interests over yours. That’s why it’s vital that you have a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to advocate for you and your rights.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, even if you weren’t injured, you should call a car accident attorney. A lawyer will get you more for your totaled vehicle or injuries than you can on your own, as insurance companies often pressure victims to sign releases.
Table of Contents
What is a release?
Car insurance companies generally contact victims to settle claims directly, or to get a hold of the vehicle. While it may seem like a relief at first, as you will at least be getting some money to pay for medical bills, car repairs, or a car rental, the insurance company will want you to sign a release.
A release is a legal document in which an individual agrees to give up certain legal rights. Sometimes referred to as a waiver, a release is designed to end a lawsuit or claim permanently. When it comes to car accidents, the person who signs the release gives up the right to claim or sue for damages relating to the accident. This means that if you sign a release for an insurance company after an accident, you won’t legally be able to pursue further action or seek further compensation from the company for anything related to the accident.
If you’re offered a settlement and a related release from an insurance company after a car accident in Southern California, there are 4 things you need to do before you sign it:
1. Get permission from your car insurance
Most California insurance companies have a subrogation policy, meaning that if you’re in an accident with an underinsured motorist, your insurance company can recover the difference between what they will cover and the amount you need from the other motorist’s insurance. If you sign a release without consulting your insurance first, you’re taking away your insurance company’s ability to go after the other driver. As a result, you insurance may reduce or take away your underinsured motorist coverage.
2. Understand what you’re signing
Legal documents are confusing, and it may feel easier to skim the release and sign it without fully understanding it. This is a mistake, as you could be permanently agreeing to something you don’t actually agree to.
Also, you never want to take the word of an insurance company at face value. Always go over any release document thoroughly to make sure you understand. An experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles car accident attorney from Ellis Injury Law can help you go over and understand the document.
3. Does the settlement cover all damages and injuries?
Even if you feel fine at first and the offered settlement check seems to cover all repairs and medical bills, that doesn’t mean you’re being fully compensated. A lot of car accident injuries don’t pop up right away, so the last thing you want to do is agree to a small settlement and then require expensive treatment later on for a related injury. Once you sign the release, that’s it. You won’t get any more money no matter how you feel or how much money you spend on medical bills. Be 100% sure that the offered settlement covers all damages and injuries before you sign a release.
4. Have a lawyer review the release
The safest and most effective way to handle a settlement and release offer is to have an experienced lawyer go over the release. Not only will a lawyer help you understand exactly what the release says, but he or she will also be able to tell you about your legal rights and what you might lose if you sign the release.
Car accidents can negatively affect your whole life, and you deserve the maximum compensation for your losses, pain and suffering. Ellis Law Corporation can help. A personal injury lawyer from our team will work tirelessly to help you get the settlement you deserve so you can put it all behind you. Advocacy from an Ellis Law attorney lets you know what compensation you can expect.
Contact a personal injury attorney from Ellis Law Corporation today for a free consultation.