By Stuart Cappus
A release is like a liability waiver in that it is a contract between two parties concerning the right of one to sue the other. However, whereas liability waivers are signed before an incident or loss occurs, releases are signed after the fact and only once the parties have settled their dispute.
A release provides that, in exchange for the offending party giving something (usually money) to the aggrieved party, the aggrieved party agrees never to sue the offending party again in relation to the dispute. In practically every case, the offending party will make it a condition of settlement that the aggrieved party signs a release. In this sense, a release protects the offending party: if the aggrieved party ever tries to sue the offending party again, the latter can rely on the release to defeat the claim.
As with liability waivers, it is a complete myth that releases are not enforceable. Except in very rare and unique circumstances, a signed release will act as a complete bar to a claim. For this reason, it is very important for an aggrieved party to know that they are being fairly compensated for their losses before signing a release.
When it comes to an ICBC injury claim, ICBC will want to settle with you as soon as possible so they can get away with paying you as little as possible. They may even try to entice you to settle while you’re still in pain, receiving treatment or off work. But unless you’ve fully recovered or know with some degree of certainty how your injuries are going to impact your life in the future, you won’t know whether you’re being properly compensated or not. Of course, ICBC isn’t going to alert you to this fact because they know that once you sign a release, you can’t come back for more.
Fortunately, our team of experienced ICBC injury lawyers knows what it takes to ensure you receive fair compensation for all your losses. Importantly, we can facilitate the assessments needed to determine the full impact of your injuries on your life not only, but in the future. So if you’ve received a settlement offer from ICBC, come talk with us before signing a release!