A check is issued to me by postal service. Should I have terms of our agreement with a pay by date in writing first before signing any release?
Signing the Release is standard operating procedure before issuing a settlement check. You should not have any problem receiving the check from the insurance check after they receive the signed Release. However, I agree that you need to take signing the Release very seriously, because it means the monies offered is all you will ever receive for your injuries from the collision. I have had many people come to me after signing a Release and later learning they were more seriously injured, sometimes even needing surgery. Unfortunately it was too late to help them because they had singed a Release.
It is standard procedure for a insurance carrier to require your signature on a release before it issues you a settlement check. Never in my practice has an insurance carrier sent money first and a release second.
I would be cautious settling your case without an attorney consultation. I've had many clients who came to our firm after an insurance company offered them a low settlement and had regretted the resolution because their claim was worth more than they settled for. An experienced PI lawyer can help you evaluate the value of your claim and advise you whether you should accept a settlement offer. People forget that insurance companies are not in the business of helping people. They are in the business of making money. The longer their money stays in the bank, the more interest it gains. And the less they pay out to claimants, the more they get to keep. Insurance is a business, not a charity.
Insurance companies often live by the motto delay, deny, defend. I think it is a very good idea to include a date in the release when payment will be received. I usually give them 14 days after the release has been signed and received. That gives them more than enough time to draft the check and send it to you.
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