What you need to know about injury release forms

In personal injury cases, it is critical to understand every document you sign before you do so, including an injury release form. An injury release form is a statement that says that the claim is resolved and that the insurance company or the at-fault party has no further obligation to you. In short, an injury release form releases the other party from paying any more compensation or accepting further claims relating to your injury.

If you are facing any type of personal injury matter, these forms will likely be a component of it. However, it is critical to sign them with the support of an attorney. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help you review these forms and requirements before you sign them.

Person using their phone to take pictures of a injury release form

What is a personal injury release form?

A personal injury release form indicates to any involved party that you are legally releasing the insurance company and the defendant from any further obligations to you. These are typically completed after the settlement agreement is made. Under Illinois law, once the form is signed, you can no longer seek additional damages from the parties involved.

Since this agreement makes your claim completely final, you should only sign this document after you have fully reviewed your losses and the settlement offer. It’s vital to ensure you have full clarity on what is being paid and what additional risks exist.

Why is a bodily injury release form so necessary?

As the victim, you must sign this document to move your settlement forward. However, it protects the insurance company and the defendant from you seeking additional compensation from them later. It is the legal closure of the dispute. Once this document is signed, you cannot open a lawsuit against the parties involved because it discharges all claims, both known and unknown, from further action.

The personal injury release form will document information such as:

  • The names of all parties involved
  • The amount of the settlement, if a settlement is being paid
  • A description of the incident or a dispute
  • The date of the incident and any other elements that document the incident
  • Signatures of all involved, including the “Releasor,” who is the victim signing the form, and the “Releasee,” the insurance company and defendants

The personal injury release form may be included with the documents associated with the personal injury settlement agreement. This agreement details much of the same information listed above and also describes how the insurance company or defendant will pay the claimant.

Should I be careful about signing the injury release form too soon?

Personal injuries are often very complicated, not just in the legal process but also in the recovery process. If you are in a car accident, you may have initial medical bills from the hospital and emergency care you received. However, you may also have financial costs later, even months down the road, when you learn you need a second medical procedure or a complication develops.

If you sign the personal injury release form too soon, that will eliminate your ability to seek compensation for those further costs. In many types of serious personal injury cases, that is a critical amount of compensation that you could be leaving on the table that should be paid to you.

Remember, insurance companies are not working for you. They are working to reduce what they pay out. One way to do that is to get you to settle the case for less than you are owed without providing you with a way to move forward if additional losses are incurred.

Are there exceptions to the legal enforceability of an injury release form?

An injury release form, in most situations, is legally binding without a way for it to be changed. There are some situations where it may be disputed, though. For example, if you can show that you were under duress, such as intimidation or extreme pressure to sign the document, that could be used to mitigate this ruling. If there is any misrepresentation or fraud involved, that may also discharge this contract.

Also important is ensuring the document is accurate. If there are unclear terms or instances where the necessary data is missing, that could also make it unenforceable, meaning you may be able to push back against it. Note that, in most situations, you can only modify these types of agreements if all parties involved agree to this.

How can we help you minimize risks with injury release forms?

Before you sign a personal injury release form, set up a consultation with our personal injury attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. You will get the legal guidance and support you need to navigate this legal process. We will only have you sign once it is the right time to do so. Call us today at (800) 985-1819 for a free consultation.