Should I sign releases or consent forms from the other driver's insurance company after a Tennessee car accident?
If you were hurt in a Tennessee car accident you didn’t cause, you can file a claim against the other driver’s auto insurance policy to seek compensation for your injuries and other losses. Unfortunately, this means dealing with an insurance company, which is often time-consuming, frustrating, and rife with potential pitfalls. Regardless of how friendly and helpful the insurance adjuster seems when they call, the company’s priority is maintaining its bottom line, not making sure that victims are compensated fairly. As a result, the adjuster will look for ways to reduce the insurance company’s financial obligation throughout the claims process.
One common tactic insurers use is tricking claimants into providing information that can be used to undermine their claims. It’s why you’ll not only be asked for a recorded statement but barraged with medical record releases and other consent forms. Here’s what you need to know about the various types of forms the insurance company may send after a car accident and why it’s never in your best interest to sign any kind of legal document without first consulting an experienced attorney.
Providing Information to an Insurance Company
After a crash, the other driver’s insurer will contact you to try to resolve the matter as quickly (and as inexpensively) as possible—often before you have time to figure out the true extent of the resulting injuries and damages. If you accept this type of on-the-fly settlement, you could miss out on important compensation for things like future expenses. Don’t risk it. Always be wary of requests from the other party’s insurance company. Here’s a brief overview of the types of releases and authorizations you may receive and how signing them could affect your car accident claim.
Common Car Crash Insurance Company Releases and Consent Forms
- Medical authorization release. While you will be required to release medical records for your accident-related injuries, signing a blanket medical authorization release gives the insurer access to your entire medical history (including your doctor’s notes), allowing them to go through with a proverbial fine-tooth comb looking for reasons to deny your claim. An adept injury attorney can help ensure that the authorization you sign limits the release of medical records to only those that are relevant to the accident in question.
- Release of all liability and claims. Signing this form releases the insurance company from liability, effectively ending your claim. While every crash victim who settles their case will eventually have to sign this release, once signed, you can take no further action. This is why it’s absolutely vital to review the form with an experienced injury lawyer before signing it to ensure you fully understand the consequences.
- Property damage release. If your vehicle was totaled in the accident, meaning the damage exceeds its market value, the insurance company will make you an offer based on the vehicle’s condition prior to the crash and send you a check for that amount, as well as a release. Signing the release or cashing the check releases the insurer from liability for damage your vehicle sustained. Have an attorney take a look at the release before you sign it or take the check to the bank.
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