When you settle your personal injury claim, the defendant's insurance company will require you to sign a general release of claims. The payment of money is always contingent on signing a release. A release is considered a contract between the parties.
Here are some of the general terms that will be in your release.
The parties are resolving a disputed claim. The language will read something like this:
Releasor recognizes that the consideration referred to above is intended to resolve a disputed claim, and is not an admission of liability and the Releasee expressly denies liability.
The insurance company is not going to admit that their insured was at fault for the accident.
You are releasing all claims related to the accident whether known or unknown at the time.
The language will read something like this:
Releasor recognizes that any injuries or illnesses sustained in the incident are or may be permanent and progressive and that the recovery from the injuries is uncertain.
Once you sign the release, your case is over, you cannot go back in 6 months and say there was an injury that you didn't of related to the accident. This is why, you have to wait until your doctors release you from care and tell you that you are as good as you're going to get.
Medical Expenses & Liens
You are responsible for your medical expenses and you will repay any liens. This is what the language will look like:
Releasor stipulates and agrees that he/she is responsible for payment of all outstanding and future bills relating to medical and prescription drug items or services associated with injuries or illnesses relating to the accident.
Liens are monies that another party like health insurance, auto insurance, medicare and medicaid paid on your behalf related to the accident. If Medicare is involved the release will contain additional language like this:
Releasor stipulates and agrees that he/she is solely responsible for satisfying any condition payment, lien or other obligation to reimburse the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and its contractors, other governmental agencies or insurers.
Dismissal of Lawsuit
Releasor will dismiss the lawsuit currently pending in the LaPorte Circuit Court.
Some defendants and their insurance companies may require a confidentiality clause. The typical confidentiality clause will read something like this:
The parties agree that they will not reveal to anyone (1) the fact that the case is settled; (2) the terms of the settlement; and (3) the amount of the settlement unless required to do so by law or disclosure is agreed upon by the parties.
These are the typical terms that will be in a personal injury general release. The release is a contract and the terms can be negotiated. Remember, if you are unwilling to sign a release of claims or you cannot agree on the terms of the release, your case will not settle and it will have to go to trial. Once a jury reaches a verdict, the result is public and there is no need for a release of claims.
If you have any questions about an Indiana personal injury matter, call us at (219) 874-4878.
Photo attribution: Image courtesy of phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net