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Signing Property Damage Release from own insurance before claiming Bodily Injury from other party's insurance.

Santa Clara, CA |


I am in California. My (P1) car was hit broadside by another car (P2) at an intersection. I had a right of way. I called my insurance company (C1) and filed a claim. C1 has declared my vehicle as total loss and we are negotiating the actual cash value of my vehicle. Me and one of my passengers had injuries with the passenger requiring ER care. We are waiting for the police report. P2's insurance company (C2) called me once and left a message with claim number asking for a statement. I have returned C2's call and was sent to a voicemail.
My insurance company wants me to sign a "Release of All Property Damage Claims" before they issue a check.
Will this impact in any way the BI claim I and my passenger make against C2? What should I be wary of? We have significant medical bills.

Release has language such as ".....In consideration of payment of $xxx, the insured hereby assigns, transfers, and sets over to C1 any and all claims or causes of action or whatsoever kind and nature which the insured now has or may hereafter have, against any person or persons as the result of the occurrence and loss described above, to the extent of the payment above made....." AND "...the furnishing of this form......discharges C1 from any and all liability for any claim under policy #XXX for the loss or damage described above and further acknowledges receipt of said amount in full satisfaction for all such claims or demands." AND "With respect to the insured's property damage claims, the undersigned hereby expressly waives the provisions of Section 1542 of the Civil Code of the State of California, which reads as follows: A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist......" Please advise...I am so confused. Thanks for your help.

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Attorney answers 3


You should contact and hire a personal injury attorney in your area. If it were an accident that dealt only with property damage you may be able to deal with your insurer yourself but since there are significant medical bills you will want an attorney to help guide you through the entire process. Additionally, the release documents are usually boiler plate but with the other factors here it will not hurt to have your attorney review the documents prior to your signing.

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 Missouri only.


You should definitely seek the services of a lawyer in your area who handles accident/injury claims. Most lawyers who represent you on the bodily injury claim can also assist you on the property damage claim and make sure you are not signing something you will later regret. If there are significant injuries, you will benefit from the representation a lawyer will provide. It's unlikely you will be able to resolve this on your own with the insurance company. Without seeing the exact release your being asked to sign, it's unlikely any lawyer can properly advise you on it's meaning.


Im in San Jose. I would suggest you have the pd release reviewed before you sign. Do you have rental car coverage? Have you got good photos of all the damage to the car, inside and out? Have you retrieved all personal items, before it is hauled off for salvage?What about your deductible? Is your company waiving it?

As for you and your passenger's injuries, it would be a good idea for you each to consult with a good injury atty asap, before you talk to the other person's ins co. You both need to do the right things from the beginning, in order to protect your rights in the end.

Consults are free. You can contact me at 408-293-4000.


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