Releases and Personal Injury Settlements
It is absolutely unethical for a lawyer to fail to immediately notify the client of any settlement offers. Even if the offer is extremely low, the client must be notified and given the option of accepting the offer. Some lawyers may withhold this information out of fear that the client will force the acceptance of a low offer. Perhaps the client is desperate for cash. The lawyer may feel that the case is worth a lot more money and he or she may not be eager to settle cheaply. Nevertheless, it is 100% your call on when to settle and for how much. Of course, it is the lawyer’s job to counsel you about the advisability of accepting a certain offer.
Once the insurance company makes an offer of settlement, the ball moves into your court. If the insurance company’s offer is acceptable, you must sign a legal document that sets forth the terms of the settlement. This document is called a release. By signing a release you give up the right to ever bring additional claims against the insurance company, even if your injuries turn out to be more severe than you thought at the time of settlement.
It is to your advantage to know the nature of the insurance company with which you are dealing. Many insurance companies will treat you fairly. Unfortunately, some insurance companies low ball every claimant, no matter how legitimate the case is, and get you to sign a release with a very poor settlement. These same insurance companies may do the same thing to your lawyer, even if an experienced PI attorney represents you.
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS that I, D. Rick Testimonee, for and in consideration of the payment to us of $10,500.00 and other good and valuable consideration, have remised, released, quitclaimed, and forever discharged and by these presents do, for myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators remise, release, quitclaim, and forever discharge Manny and Les Bucks and Acme Insurance Company, their heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns, and all of them, of and from all actions, causes of action, demands, damages, costs, loss of services, expenses, compensation, and all consequential damage arising out of or in any way growing out of any and all personal injuries resulting or to result from an incident that occurred on or about November 1, 2012, at or near Ridge Avenue and Glennwood Avenue, Birmingham, AL. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 12th day of January, 2014.
D. RICK TESTIMONEE