I have settled a PI case at MSC and the settlement was put on record. Insurance company would not release the payment unless I sign a written release agreament which has very complicated legal language basically asking me to waive several rights about future losses which are unknown at this time.My Attorney doesn't seem to care as long as he is getting paid in full.
Is there a way to get the payment without signing the release because it was agreed to settle in front of the judge?
The standard way a case gets settled and payment is made is by the signing of a release. Most standard releases provide that the payment is made on the condition that the case is finalized and all claims, including those injuries and losses which might be unknown at the time, but which are a result of the personal injury, are resolved. Generally that type of language is standard. To be perfectly accurate however, a lawyer would have to know the precise settlement agreement which was put on the record, what the facts of the case are, and read the actual language of the release.
This is very standard, the insurance company wants to know they are buying their peace on behalf of themsleves and their insured client. I assume your concern is over a Civil Code §1542 Waiver of all unknown and unforeseen injuries and damages, this is standard language. If you discover something a day or 2 years after the effective date of the settlement you can not go back and sue the defendant or the insurance it is over. If you were not comfortable with the settlement you should not have agreed, now you are stuck, and absent proof of fraud, the court will enforce it given that you agreed on the record.
The insurance company wants a "final" settlement. They have taken into account future unknowns in regard to making you the settlement offer. You and your attorney should have discussed that prior to accepting the settlement. Signing the release is your formal acceptance of the settlement. Insist that your lawyer fully explain the release and what you're giving up, before you sign it. But, no release means no money.
Your settlement is to encompass all past, present, and future damages. If the offer is not adequate to cover all of these contingencies, then it should not be accepted. The insurance company is within their rights to request that you sign the release. You should discuss the situation with your attorney.
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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.
Depends upon what was put onthe record. If there was no agreement that you would be reqd to sign a separate release, then you are right. Your atty can file a motion to compel payment pursuant to the settlement on the record. You may need to get a transcript of what was said on the record. Usually these settlements state that a standard written release will be reqd. Then the question becomes what is standard. Without the transcript, no one here knows the terms you agreed to. If you dont want to delay the payment, incur costs for transcript, etc., and it appears you dont trust your current lawyers opinion about the terms in the release, you can pay another atty to review the release with you for an independent opinion.
Typically, the insurance company must receive the release before payment is dispersed. This is custom and usually mandatory. I would assume that your attorney would understand the legal language in the release enough to be able to answer any questions for you. If not, give my office a call. Good luck!
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