What is a Release?

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Attorney Brittany Partridge is here to explain an important legal term: What is Release?

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► Hi, my name is Brittany Partridge and I’m an attorney at Butler Kahn Law Firm. Today I’m going to talk briefly about releases.
► What is a release? A release is a contract between you and another person or you and an entity that you are agreeing to release certain claims against that person or entity. We see this all the time, whether we purchased concert tickets or baseball tickets or if we agree to use a certain software, we are releasing our claims against that person or entity in order to see that concert, in order to see the baseball game or use that software.
► In the personal injury context, our clients will sign a release after we have completed a settlement. And there’s two types of releases that we see in the personal injury context, and there’s the general and then there’s the limited. So a general release is going to be the most broad type of release and you are going to release any and all claims against a person, their insurance company, their parent company, their subsidiaries releasing any and all claims that arise out of an incident. This is whether or not they know about an injury right now or an injury might develop in the future. But in exchange for money, oftentimes, you are going to release your ability to bring claims against that third party.
► So I have an example here of a release our client signed earlier this year that is a general release. So at up at the very top, you’re going to see a general release and it’s going to specify that and our client is agreeing to release any and all claims against the entity, releases and forever discharges against a certain entity. Now this release was unique because there was a confidentiality agreement in the release, which most releases do not have a confidentiality agreement. But in this instance, we did agree to one. So our client did agree to keep the amount of settlement and the parties involved confidential. And us as his attorneys also cannot talk about the parties that were involved or use our client’s name for the amount of money that there was a settlement. But not every release requires that.
► So let’s talk about the limited release. So a limited release is limited to a certain policy of insurance most of the time, we see this in car wreck cases most often. So if you agree to a settlement with the at-fault driver and you know that there’s two insurance policies, say one’s with State Farm, one’s with Allstate, you can agree and release State Farm in the at-fault driver without releasing Allstate. This is also the same if State Farm had three policies that apply, but they’ve only paid one of those policies. You could agree to a limited release for just one of those policies. And I have another example of a release one of our clients signed earlier this year. So our client signed a limited release, which is specified in the release pursuant to the statute in Georgia, which is O.C.G.A. 33-24-41.1, that we are releasing any and all claims against the insurance company and the at-fault driver with regard to certain policy numbers. And we specify those policy numbers in the release in case another policy of insurance happens to appear, which sometimes can happen. And this will say except to the extent that other insurance coverage is available through the insurance company to cover such claims or claims. So in this release, we did not have a confidentiality clause and our clients signed this release and were after the settlement of that case.

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