Why should I not sign a release form right away?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

It may be a while before the full extent of injuries sustained in an auto accident on a California road can be known. So when an insurance company for the party that caused your accident tries to get you to sign a release of all claims form, you should not rush to sign it. It is in your best interests to wait and assess the entire scope of how an accident has affected your life before you waive your right to make further claims for your damages.

As FindLaw explains, since you might not know all the damages that have arisen from your accident, signing a release form shortly after a wreck can cause you to lose out if you find you need additional medical care. It is a better idea to wait until your treatment is concluded and that your health has recovered or at least your medical prognosis is firmly established. Some injuries have long lasting effects, and you should know the extent of them before you sign a release form.

The same is true for damages inflicted to your vehicle. Even after an initial assessment is done on your automobile, you may not know how much damage your vehicle has truly suffered, as there may be internal damage that does not reveal itself until later. Some people do not find out about additional damage to their vehicle until they have taken it back out onto the road.

Aside from the potential for additional damages that you do not know about, signing away your right to make claims takes away your negotiating power. You might have issues with the settlement offer the insurer has given you. There is no reason to accept an initial offer quickly. Consider consulting with an experienced attorney to see if you are missing out on anything by signing a release form, and how you may negotiate for a better deal.

Auto accidents can inflict injury in many different ways. For this reason, do not read this article as actionable legal advice, only as general information on the topic of car accidents.

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