Two new files almost made me cry today. Each client had a great downtime claim…but they each signed a release that, unbeknownst to them, gave up all their rights to go after any money for their downtime losses.
It is so important to completely read any paperwork that you are asked to sign. Look on the front and back of all documents for any additional fine print.
Here are 3 things to remember when settling a claim and signing a release:
1. Property Damage Release covers more than repairs.
The term Property Damage means more than the physical damage of your truck. It also means all other non-medical expenses of the accident, like towing, rental, downtime loss of use, and diminished value. Plus, if hidden damage is found after signing the release, you may be unable to collect those expenses.
Insurance adjusters often take advantage of claimants who don’t understand the insurance company’s definition of property damage. Adjusters know the power of a property damage release and how it gets them off the hook from all property damage claims.
2. Be very careful of general releases!
General releases cover both property damage and personal injuries. If you have any medical bills or bodily injuries, do not sign any release without the advise of an attorney.
3. Releases can hide on checks!
Before cashing a check, double check the front and back of it, as well as the stub and any enclosed letter. If you cash a check that has release language on it, you may be giving up any additional losses related to the claim.
Moral of the story, think twice before signing a release. Read everything carefully and get the advice of a lawyer. If our office is hired for a downtime claim, we will review any property damage releases complimentarily, even if we aren’t hired for that portion.
For a video on the same topic, see Think Twice Before Signing a Release.
For help with your claim and any releases, complete our get started form and we will contact you or call 1-800-DOWNTIME.