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In personal injury settlement we are asked to sign Release and Hold Harmless agreements...should we sign it? is it common?

Seattle, WA |

WA state personal injury settlement question.

To sign Release and Hold Harmless agreements by plaintiff is common practice in personal injury settlements?
do all plaintiff sign them ? or we should not sign any of those documents? I read somewhere we should not sign hold harmless agreement as it is not unethical.

Please advice ...our lawyer asked us where it is accepted for us to sign it?...instead advising us on what to do...

Attorney Answers 13


  1. It's normal and necessary. The carrier won't release the funds without them. Your lawyer should make sure you know about all liens before signing hold harmless. Sign the papers.

    I am a co-author of WEITZ ON AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: THE NO FAULT HANDBOOK. The opinions expressed in this answer are not intended to be taken as legal advice. These opinions are based on New York practice. I may be contacted at 212-553-9300.


  2. Without seeing the content of the document, it is doubtful that any attorney will advise you on whether or not to sign. However, Release and Hold Harmless agreements are fairly common at the conclusion of a PI case. The purpose is generally to release the defendant from any future litigation or responsibility for damages should conditions not known at the time of settlement arise. In other words, the company wouldn't have to pay for a any complication of an injury. Your attorney should be able to advise you whether you should sign the agreement. In many instances, a defendant will not settle if the agreement is not signed.


  3. It is standard. I do not understand what you are trying to say about your lawyer.


  4. It is a standard condition to receiving settlement proceeds in Washington State and virtually all jurisdictions. If you want the settlement check, you need to sign the release and hold harmless. However, as the specific terms of the documents can vary, you should rely on your attorney to review them to ensure you are not agreeing to anything beyond what at is necessary for the settlement.

    This answer is intended to provide general guidance only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consider retaining legal counsel if you remain uncertain about your rights.


  5. It is standard if you want them to release the check.


  6. Usually this is the only way an insurance company will forward settlement check. However, you should have your attorney explain in detail about any outstanding liens etc which are or might be effected by the hold harmless agreement

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


  7. Yes, all insurers require claimants to sign release and hold harmless agreements to effectuate settlement. These documents insulate their insured from further liability as it relates to the subject collision. However, different insurers can try to inject different language into releases that may not be bargained for. Duties to defend and indemnify should be scrutinized with an attorney, as should any confidentiality provisions. In fact, it would be prudent for you to review the entire language of the release and hold harmless agreement with an attorney; this will help to ensure the insurer is not overreaching.


  8. It is standard, but have your lawyer review it first


  9. It is normal and standard practice.

    The information on this website is not intended to be legal advice.


  10. It is absolutely common to sign releases and hold harmless agreements. The insurance company will not release the funds without receiving both of those documents signed. The terms within those documents can be disputed by your attorney, and they should have looked both documents over and advised you in their professional opinion whether or not you should sign them and settle your claim.


  11. I am sorry, but your writing is a bit confusing. Since you have an attorney, I suggest that you sit down, face-to-face, with your attorney and read through the release and ask your attorney to explain everything that you do not understand. If you do not agree to a term of the release, ask your attorney to try to modify it. It is your attorney's job to help work out the final terms of any settlement.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.


  12. Mr. Marshall laid it out perfect. Your lawyer will go over the terms of the release with you and answer any questions.


  13. Signing a release is standard in personal injury actions in exchange for a money settlement, but you should always go over the release with your attorney and be clear about what rights you are releasing, and what you are getting in return for the release.

    By responding to this inquiry, no attorney-client relationship is being established nor expected by either party.

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