Do I have to sign a property damage release form for the at-fault insurance to pay in full?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have to sign a property damage release form for the at-fault insurance to pay in full?

My car was hit while parked, but the driver provided me with his insurance info. The total costs of repair rental car exceed the CA state requirement of $5,000 by about 1.6K. So far the driver’s insurance has paid 3.9K, but are requesting I sign a property damage release form so they can pay their remaining 1.1k. However, the form states that I release the at fault driver, not just his insurance company from further claims on this accident. Is this standard procedure? Since my car was hit while parked, am I really required to give up my right to sue the driver for the remaining amount he’s not insured for?

Asked on December 5, 2018 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The driver's insurer's payments to you are voluntary, since you have not sued the driver yet and won--in the absence of a court jugment in your favor, any/all payments are voluntary. Therefore, they can ask you to sign the waiver in exchange for the money. You, in turn, can decide if you'd rather get the money now from the insurer while giving up the right to possibly sue for more, or if you'd rather sue the at-fault driver for everything you believe he may owe you.

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