Recent insurance company schemes include a return to an old ploy of sending a claims representative to the home of an accident victim within days of a collision, waiving dollars in front of them. They promise the victims and their families that in exchange for a signature on a release form, they’ll get a few hundred dollars right now and they assure the victims that if they need more medical care than they have already received, the insurance company will gladly cover the cost of that care.
Unfortunately, once the unfortunate victim takes the money and signs the release, the insurance company washes their hands of the victim and denies any further obligation to pay for damages. The release says nothing about paying more for medical bills. It says that in exchange for the small amount of money paid, the victim forever releases the insurance company from any further obigation to pay anything else.
I am aware of two specific cases where the accident victims, in reliance upon the words of the insurance claims representative, signed a release and took the money. Once was for $1,400.00. The victim did return to the doctor for much needed care. Both victims discovered their injuries to be much more serious than originally believed. They both needed MRIs and one ultimately needed surgery. The result? If you guessed that the accident victims were out of luck, you are correct. Once you sign a release that forever relieves another party of any future obligation, you’re stuck. The words of the insurance claims representative are meaningless and unenforceable.
The lesson is: know what you’re sigining; do not rely on the promises of an insurance representative whose job is to protect the insurance company and not you, and never sign your rights away unless you fully understand what you are giving up. There are no do-overs in a personal injury claims. If you have any douubt about what you need to do, call a good lawyer. Call two good lawyers before you sign away your rights.