This is a not just a question that we frequently get in slip and fall accident cases, it is a situation that comes up with great regularity. The situation is particularly common with larger retailers.
Often, the retailer or other business will attempt to get a release of claims signed at the time of the accident. Their haste in attempting to resolve the matter before you leave the premise should tell you something.
To begin you may first want to understand a release of claims. To learn what a release of claims is, go here: What is a Release of Claims?
Once you have understand the consequences of a release of claims, you may want to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Albuquerque Attorneys, Collins & Collins, P.C. can help. Contact us online or feel free to give us a call, (505) 242-5958.
To Sign or Not to Sign a Release of Claims in a Slip and Fall AccidentRarely if ever would signing a release be in your best interests. In short, the answer is “NO, You should not sign a release of claims if you have been injured.”
The answer will depend on in part on how bad you are hurt and whether you will fully recover or suffer other damages beyond medical expenses. If you have suffered only minor injuries or none at all, then perhaps the release will not come back to haunt you. However, it is not always possible at the time of the accident to know how bad your injuries are. It is not uncommon for injuries to worsen over time.
This happens frequently with back, knee, shoulder and wrist injuries which are among the most common injuries from a slip and fall. More worrisome still are traumatic brain injuries caused by concussions. The residual effects of a concussion are very hard to gauge. They certainly cannot be measured at the time of the accident. Moreover, someone who has just suffered a concussion is hardly in a state of mind to sign a release of claims.
In short, the answer to this question is generally an emphatic: “No, you should not sign a release of claims at the time of your accident if you have suffered serious injuries.”
Question Motives of Entity Seeking the Release of Claims
After all, you should ask yourself why it is that the business or retailer is so eager to sign a release. Rest assured it is neither generosity nor concern for your health that is dictating the policy.Many businesses carry no-fault premises liability insurance so the release should not be necessary for coverage of medical treatment.In fact, many businesses (but by no means all) carry no-fault premises liability insurance coverage which cover slip and fall accidents on their premises. No-fault coverage provides for the payment of medical bills up to a point without any showing of fault on the part of the business. This means that even if it was not the fault of the businesses, the insurance will cover your medical bills up to some limit set in the policy.
So why would they want you to sign release in this situation? The answer is simple. They are trying to cut off liability for greater damages such medical bills beyond the coverage, lost income, permanent damages, and so on. Getting an immediate release is a safety measure to protect against these greater damages.
The same reasoning goes for those businesses that do not have no-fault premises liability coverage. Typically, if they offer anything at all, these businesses will offer some small cash settlement for a full release of claims. In the alternative, they may offer to pay for your immediate medical treatment such as emergency room or urgent care costs. Again, the same concerns apply. You may be getting an immediate but superficial financial recovery while waiving your rights to recover for your true injuries and damages.
Releases of Claims Impact Your Future Claims – Contact an Attorney for Help Before you Sign
You may be getting an immediate but superficial financial recovery while waiving your rights to recover for your true injuries and damages.
If you have suffered serious personal injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident, you should contact an attorney. It is rarely if ever a good idea to sign a release of claims without fully knowing all of your injuries and damages. And this takes time and most certainly cannot be determined at the time of the accident.
A personal injury attorney experienced with slip and fall claims will be able to walk you through the process toward fair compensation. It can be a rather lengthy process. Taking shortcuts will typically not be to your advantage.