Don't Sign Any Forms After an Accident Until You Talk to a Lawyer!
If you were injured in a car accident (or any accident) in Kansas City or elsewhere in Missouri or Kansas, you'll likely get a phone call from the insurance adjuster for the at-fault party. They may ask you for a recorded statement and they may even send you forms to sign.
If the insurance company has asked you to sign a form of "release", you need to be careful. Don't sign anything until you need to understand what impact this document will have on your legal rights. We recommend that you at least consult with a lawyer to review any document before you sign it, especially a liability release offered by the insurance company.
Missouri & Kansas Law on Liability Releases
A liability release is a legal document that is critically important to any personal injury claim. In both Kansas and Missouri, when you sign a liability release, you are ending your legal case and terminating any legal right to seek further compensation from any of the people or companies named in the release.
If your case settled, the release will be signed in exchanged for the settlement payment from the insurance company.
The release will name certain "released parties." This will include both the insured person who was liable or at fault in causing the accident and their insurance company. Once you sign the release and cash your check, your car accident case is over. You cannot ask for more money for your injuries or medical bills from them.
You should be careful not to sign a release too early. For example, some injuries don’t appear immediately, such as a traumatic brain injury or even a serious spine injury. You may not be aware of how severe your condition is, or you may not fully understand the extent of future medical bills that you will incur. You may not yet realize that you will need surgery and years of rehabilitative treatment.
Releases Are "Full and Final"
A release is a binding contract and almost always contain terms and conditions that state they are "full and final." This means that the insurance company will not be obligated to pay you any more money for your injuries. Once you sign a release and settle your case, there is no going back. It does not matter that you were not aware of the full extent of your injuries. You will be out of luck.
Be Careful Dealing with the Insurance Company
It goes without saying that the insurance company for the at-fault is not your friend, and you should be very careful when dealing with them. There are a number of tactics insurance companies use to get you to settle your case prematurely for a value far less than what you are entitled to under the law.
If you are not sure if you are ready to settle with the insurance company or if you have questions about your case, you should contact our Kansas City personal injury law office. Our Kansas City car accident lawyer will review the details of your car accident case and help you determine your legal options and the best way to move forward.
Contact Our Accident Lawyer in Kansas City for Help
For more information about car accident or personal injury claims in Missouri and Kansas, please download a free copy of my book, Crash Course, from our website. You can also contact our Kansas City personal injury attorney by calling (816) 203-0143 or by filling out a form on our Contact Us page. Contacting us is FREE and confidential, and there is no obligation to hire our firm.