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What is a Release in a Settlement?

Apr 8, 2024 | Personal Injury

The majority of personal injury cases do not go to trial — they settle outside of court. But it’s important to understand that there is a certain procedure that must be followed after a settlement agreement has been reached.  When you accept a settlement offer in a personal injury case, you must sign a release before any funds will be disbursed. Importantly, a release brings the legal proceedings to an end — and provides both parties with certainty of the outcome.          

What is a Release?

A release in a personal injury settlement is a legally binding document signed by the plaintiff in exchange for compensation from the defendant or their insurance company. By signing the release, you agree to waive your right to pursue any further legal action in connection with the injury and accident specified in the settlement. Once you execute a release, you also cannot file any claims for injuries stemming from the incident that might not arise until later.      

Once a settlement has been reached and the release has been signed, the need for a trial can be avoided. Not only can reaching a mutually agreeable resolution save valuable time and resources that would otherwise be spent on litigating in the courtroom, but it can also eliminate the uncertainty that comes with trial — and having a case determined by a jury. 

What Information Does a Release Include?

Before signing a release, it’s crucial to understand the implications of doing so. While many insurance companies use standard forms for their releases, the language and provisions should be modified to fit the specific needs and details of the case. Releases in a personal injury case should include the following clauses:

  • Identification of the parties — A release should identify the parties involved in the settlement, including the plaintiff, defendant, and any relevant insurance companies.
  • A description of claims — The release must outline the specific claim being settled, including the injuries suffered, the damages incurred, and other relevant details. 
  • Consideration — The amount of compensation provided to the plaintiff in exchange for releasing the defendant from further liability must be specified in the release. The document should also specify whether compensation will be issued in the form of a lump sum, a structured settlement payment, or another form of compensation. 
  • A waiver absolving the defendant from further liability — One of the most important components of a release is language that absolves the defendant from any further legal responsibility for injuries related to the accident. 
  • A stipulation — The release should include a stipulation that neither party admits fault by signing the release.

Before signing a settlement release in a personal injury case, it’s critical to ensure you understand all the terms and provisions it contains. It’s best to consult with a personal injury attorney who can best advise you whether the settlement protects your rights — and the compensation you’re being offered for the injuries you sustained is fair. An attorney can also assess the extent of your injuries, negotiate a settlement on your behalf and help ensure future medical expenses and lost wages are accounted for in the amount you’ve been offered.  

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

If you were presented with a settlement offer for your personal injury matter, it’s essential to have a skillful attorney by your side who can review the terms and ensure they are fair. Due to our extensive experience and deep knowledge, The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP regularly obtains substantial settlements for victims who have sustained injuries due to the negligence of others. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.




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