Things to Consider Before You Sign a Release of Liability
If you have been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, and have experienced damages, you will more than likely be approached to settle the claim. Either an attorney, or an insurance company, will more than likely provide you with a tempting settlement offer. This can be tempting if you need the money, however many people do not realize that this is done in an effort to limit the liabilities experienced by the insurance company, not in an effort to help you in a quick manner. More often than not, if someone is trying to give you money, especially in aquick fashion, there is a calculated reason behind it. In these cases, the quicker you settle the less likely you will know the true extent of your injuries. Often times certain injuries take time to manifest themselves, the last thing you want is to find yourself at the bank cashing your settlement check a week after the injury, only to have pain handing your check to the teller. The reason this is so devastating is because in order to get this check you signed away any right to make a legal claim against the negligent party, or their insurer. This means that you no longer have any recourse to have your future medical bills paid.
One way to make certain you are getting the proper compensation is to take some time before you settle, even if you do not hire an attorney, please take the time to do a self-assessment of how the injury has impacted your life. While doing this write down every way the accident or injury has impacted your lifestyle, and what you now have to endure because of it. Take a complete inventory and write down anything that has changed in your life due to the injury. This is an exercise everyone should do to make sure they really think about every possible way their life has changed from the injury. I have listed some common examples below, but this is not a comprehensive list.
How does this effect your ability to work?
Has your ability to move, lift, reach or twist changed?
Are there things you can no longer do, or that are even just a bit harder to do now that you are injured? (lifting a child, playing with dog, etc.)
Has this changed the way you drive your car or turn the steering wheel?
Has this put any stress on your relationships with family?
Has this had an impact on your intimate life?
Has your ability to sleep changed, experiencing pain at nighttime, or are you having any trouble getting comfortable?-Have you had to change certain muscle memory type movements to avoid pain or further damage? (Ex. the way you open doors, or the way you put on your shoes or a shirt, or the way you lift open containers, etc.)
Has this changed the way your employer sees your ability?
Do you take additional OTC medicine to deal with pain on a more frequent basis? (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.)
Have you stopped doing any choirs or household duties because they are more difficult or painful now? (raking leaves, washing clothes, etc.)