It can take months—and sometimes years—to reach a fair personal injury settlement, so it's not surprising that many people rush to sign their contracts once they reach an agreement with the other party. However, here are two reasons why you should wait at least a few days before putting your signature on the dotted line.

Your Ability to Collect Compensation Will End

Almost all settlement contracts will include a release clause. This clause states you won't continue pursuing legal action against the other party for any claims related to the incident that led to the lawsuit. Essentially, this means you'll drop your current lawsuit and won't try to revive it at a later date.

What you may not realize, though, is that the clause also prevents you from pursuing any future claims that may arise because of the incident. For instance, your leg is badly damaged in a car accident and the insurance company gives you money for medical expenses. If your leg has to be amputated later because of the injury you sustained in the accident, a release clause would prevent you from suing the insurance company for compensation for your limb loss.

Thus, it's important to ensure the settlement agreement covers not only the claims you have now but also any that may arise. If you can't secure compensation for future claims, try to work a backdoor into the contract you can use to usher in additional legal action that may be required at a later date.

You May Be Prevented from Suing Other Liable Parties

Even if a clause in a settlement agreement prevents you from pursuing legal claims against the listed liable party, you could still seek compensation from other parties who may have contributed to your injuries and losses. Unfortunately, some settlement contracts extend the reach of the release clause to include others as well, closing off this option.

This usually occurs when the liable party has a relationship with other people or entities who could potentially be sued. For instance, a company who is a subsidiary of another corporation may include the parent company in the release clause.

The problem is that the clause will apply even if you didn't know about the additional parties that you could go after. Therefore, it's essential you work with your attorney to identify all parties who could be held liable for your injuries and determine whether or not it would be prudent to sign away your rights to sue them.

For help with a personal injury claim, contact a local personal injury attorney.