If I sign a release for my wife to receive a settlement but I’m not ready to settle yet, will this jeopardize my right to settle my claim?

UPDATED: Oct 4, 2011

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If I sign a release for my wife to receive a settlement but I’m not ready to settle yet, will this jeopardize my right to settle my claim?

My wife has negotiated a settlement with an insurance company from an accident where we were rear-ended. When we received the release forms my name appears on it also and the adjuster said this was standard in Tennessee and would not affect my claim or my right to receive a settlement at a later date. Is this true?

Asked on October 4, 2011 under Accident Law, Tennessee


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your claim is separate from your wife's claim.  Settlement of your wife's claim should not have any effect on your claim.  When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain the medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of any wage loss. That would be the time to try to settle your case. Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills. If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, you can reject the settlement offers in your case and file a lawsuit for negligence against the other driver.  If your case is settled, no lawsuit is filed.  If your case is not settled, file the lawsuit naming only yourself as the plaintiff since your wife's case settled.  If your case does NOT settle with the insurance company, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the other driver prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

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