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STOP! Do not sign anything!

I was involved in a car accident a few days ago and the other driver’s insurance company made an offer to fix my car and also wants me to sign a release of all liability. What is this and do I need to sign it? 

No, you absolutely do not need to sign the release of liability this soon. You don’t want to sign any release of liability in which give up the right to any future compensation until you have a crystal clear picture of all of your losses stemming from the accident.

There may still be a lot of questions that cannot be answered this early. Are the damage estimates for your vehicle accurate? Could there be hidden damage you don’t know about? Do you have any soreness or minor injuries? Have you been to your doctor to get checked out, at least as a precaution?

The insurance company wants you to sign the release now, because your known losses up to this point are clear (right now it’s just the cost to fix your vehicle damage) but the full extent of the impact of the accident might not have come to light yet. Right now, the dollar amount required to get your car fixed is the absolute minimum the insurer will be on the hook for, so it’s no surprise that the insurer is trying to get you to “lock in” that minimum for them, by signing the release.

There’s no rush for you to sign a release of liability, no matter what the insurance company is telling you. Your claim can still proceed, you can still get your car fixed, and you can still wait to see if any other problems arise. Bottom line: Signing a release too early can only hurt you, and can only benefit the insurance company.

 

 

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