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Waldorf, MD Personal Injury Settlements: What is a Settlement and Release Agreement?

If you have been the victim of an accident here in Waldorf, MD, or Charles County, you can make an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland State courts. If you are successful in your claim or in obtaining payment of a verdict in your favor in the lawsuit, there is actually quite a bit of paperwork involved. It is not just receiving a check. This can cause some confusion for those involved. The main document that must be signed is called a Settlement and Release of Claims Agreement. Some wonder what that is and why they have to sign it.

The Maryland personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Robert Castro offer an answer to these questions below. If you have been the victim of an accident here in Southern Maryland, call us. Our number is (301) 870-1200.

A Settlement and Release of Claims (“Release Agreement”) is a legally-binding document — usually several pages long — that is signed by the parties in exchange for payment of the settlement or judgment amount. The legal purpose of a Release is to completely and finally settle all claims made and claims that could have been made related to the accident. Once signed, a Release Agreement means that the victim cannot bring any further claims or file any future litigation related to the accident. Any effort to do so will be rejected by the insurance companies and by the courts. A simple example of release language that might be contained is this:

Release: In consideration for the payment of the [SETTLEMENT AMOUNT], Plaintiff [NAME] does hereby release, acquit and forever discharge [AT FAULT PARTY] and all other persons, firms, and corporations, including [INSURANCE CARRIER], who might be liable for the harm or damages related to [DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT]. This Release is for all lawsuits, causes of action, claims, demands, damages, or injuries of any nature whatsoever, at law or in equity, whether past, present or future and whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed, that now exist, or may hereafter come to exist, relating to, or in any way growing out of, said Accident.”

Yes, this is legally complicated language, but, as noted, this is one of the simpler versions of release language. Many Release Agreements contain release language that is more extensive and legally even more complicated. However, the “bottom line” is, that by signing a Release Agreement, the victim of the accident waives any right to additional compensation over and above what is being paid.

Several practical issues flow from the fact that a Release Agreement must be signed when a case is settled or a lawsuit judgment is paid. First, Release Agreements prevent settlements from being agreed to and paid quickly. Because the victim is releasing all claims “whether past, present or future and whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, disclosed or undisclosed,” every victim must wait long enough to obtain FULL and COMPLETE medical information on the possible injuries resulting from the accident in question. Sometimes, injuries do not manifest in symptoms until weeks (or even months) after an accident. And, sometimes, such latent injuries are very serious and require surgery or other expensive medical treatment. If you sign a Release Agreement too soon, you will be forever barred from seeking compensation for injuries that have not manifested in symptoms. So, the binding legal impact of the Release Agreement is one answer if you have ever asked “why is my settlement taking so long?”

Second, the Release Agreement is one powerful reason that you need experienced Maryland personal injury attorneys on your side. Insurance carriers will often try and get a victim to take a “quick settlement” because they know that, after the Release Agreement is signed, no future claims can be made.

Contact Waldorf, MD Personal Injury Attorney Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer at (301) 870-1200. We are Waldorf, MD Personal Injury lawyers. Our address is 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD 20601.