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Is it necessary to sign the release to get compensation/payment from Insurance Companies?

San Jose, CA |

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?

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Attorney answers 14


I hope you are misinterpreting the situation. Assuming you have local and qualified counsel, he/she very much cares that your case get resolved fairly and appropriately. Waivers and the like are unfortunately proper and mandatory.

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff


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.


You should never settle a case until you have finished your medical treatment.


If you did not sign the waiver, there would be no reason for the insurance company to pay you the settlement. You could always just come back and sue them later for more money. If you have additional questions or concerns you should address them with your attorney.


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.


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.

Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.


Without a release no insurance company will pay the settlement. The standard general release in this state waives the provisions of Civil Code Section 1542 about known and unknown claims.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


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.

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


You should discuss the waiver and any concerns you may have with your attorney. Waivers are as a general rule a part of any settlement. Best of luck to you.

View my website & give me a call for a FREE consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can email me at I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference


No. If you want the money you have to sign the release. If there was another way it would be called a full trial. Best of luck.

This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.


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.


Yes, negotiate a release with different terms (not very likely) or schedule a conference before the judge with everyone present to protest the terms (if you have good grounds) or litigate the case to judgment. You'd better get better rapport with your attorney.


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!

If this information has been helpful, please mark it as "Best Answer" or "Helpful". For more information, contact my office at or (706) 353-7722. My office offers a free 60-minute consultation to discuss your case.


Have your attorney explain what the complicated legal language means,

Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160

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