Brandon Stein Law: Settlement is Not the End of a Personal Injury Case

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident or slip and fall, contact our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers today.

As a Fort Myers car accident and slip and fall lawyer, the end of a personal injury lawsuit is not when all parties have agreed to a settlement.  In fact, much more occurs on the “back-end” of a case than most are aware.  Once a client agrees to a specific amount for settlement, then the responsibility of paying all outstanding medical bills falls on the shoulders of the law firm. However, for a Cape Coral personal injury lawyer, a careful evaluation of the legal document releasing the defendant from the case is a must.  This document is frequently referred to as the “Release of Claims.”

Ultimately, no defendant will ever send a settlement check without first receiving a signed Release of Claims.  So, it is vital that the language is reviewed with a fine-tooth comb and any revisions needed to be made are raised prior to the client signing the document. While most Releases are generic and contain the same information as the next, one important component is rarely included — and this is perhaps excluded by the defendant for a reason.

Being a Naples personal injury lawyer that helps those injured from car accidents and slip and falls, upon settlement of any case, I always check the Release of Claims to ensure that the only party my client is releasing from the lawsuit is the party that is in fact settling. In essence, other known or unknown parties may exist that have committed some wrongful act, but are not included in the lawsuit or the settlement as of yet.

I suggest that the following language always be included within a Release of Claims: Releasor reserves the right to pursue and recover all future medical expenses, health care  and related expenses and any other claims from any person, firm, or organization that may be responsible for the injuries sustained by the Releasor, and this provision does not include the Releasees.

This language is entirely necessary because should a client come to recognize that another party may be responsible for his or her injury, then the client must be able to pursue a negligence claim against that party.  In fact, as a South Florida lawyer that sues for personal injury, I would even go as far as to say that the failure to include this language in a release may constitute legal malpractice.