Has your insurer ever presented you with a release of liability? Did you take the time and effort to carefully read the entire release prior to signing? Did you completely understand the contents of the release? Were you comfortable signing the release? The reality is most individuals hastily sign on the dotted line to quickly obtain payment without thinking twice about the potential legal consequences.
A common situation involving releases of liability occurs when an insurance company resolves a claim with an insured policyholder, i.e., tendering a loss payment to an insured for property damage as the result of an automobile accident. Most insurance companies include a release of liability as part of the settlement payment to the insured policyholder. The purpose of the release of liability is to prevent the insured from making additional claims for damages against the insurance company, or potential “double-dipping.” However, insurance companies may not always take into consideration the entire spectrum of the insured’s damages. The insured policyholder may inadvertently waive any rights to claim ancillary damages should the insured hurriedly sign the release of liability without carefully reading and understanding the language. Specifically, the insured may also have a claim for damages stemming from personal injuries suffered in the accident, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Importantly, please understand that insurance companies draft releases of liability to protect their own legal interests. Insured policyholders are not mandated to use the insurer’s release of liability form and have the option to alter and/or omit unfavorable terms. Do not sign a release of liability until you have reviewed the subject matter with an attorney.
Prior to executing a release of liability from your insurer, please contact Telpner Peterson, LLP, today at 712-309-3738 for legal advice on how to secure a favorable resolution with your insurance company.