FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION of the payment to me/us at this time of the sum of $475,000, I, being of lawful age, do hereby release, acquit and forever discharge Francis Mueller and all other persons, firms and corporations who might be liable for the harm done to me on November 1, 2016 in a motor vehicle accident collision near Chester Street and Madison Street Baltimore, Maryland. This release is for all actions, causes of action, claims, demands, damages, costs, loss of services, expenses and compensation, on account of, or in any way growing out of, any and all known and unknown personal injuries and property damage resulting or to result from an accident that occurred that day.
I declare and represent that the injuries sustained are permanent and progressive and that recovery is uncertain and indefinite, and in making this release and agreement it is understood and agreed that I rely wholly upon my own judgment, belief and knowledge of the nature, extent and duration of said injuries. I have not been influenced to any extent whatever in making this release by any representations or statements regarding said injuries, or regarding any other matters, made by the persons, firms or corporations who are hereby released, or by any person or persons representing him or them, or by any physician or surgeon by him or them employed.
It is further understood and agreed that this settlement is the compromise of a doubtful and disputed claim, and that the payment is not to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of Francis Mueller, by whom liability is expressly denied.
I further agree that this release shall not be pleaded by me/us as a bar to any claim or suit.
This release contains the ENTIRE AGREEMENT between the parties hereto, and the terms of this release are contractual and not a mere recital.
I have carefully read the preceding release and know the contents. I sign the same as my own free act.
A mutual release and settlement agreement is the fancy name for the contract that you would typically enter into when you and the opposing party (or their insurance company) agree to voluntarily settle your dispute. Plaintiffs typically agree to sign a mutual release and settlement agreement in exchange for accepting some sort of monetary offer from the defendant. A settlement is something most people are familiar with -- instead of taking a case to trial a defendant offers to pay money if the plaintiff drops the case. The mutual release and settlement agreement is basically the written contract that puts this settlement in writing and makes it legally enforceable. It prevents the plaintiff from continuing to pursue his claims once the defendant pays the agree amount.
An "out of court settlement" typically refers to a voluntarily agreement which resolves a legal dispute between two parties instead of resolving the issue in court. In the context of personal injury law, out of court settlements usually involve a payment of money by the defendant. In some cases an out of court settlement might be reached before a lawsuit is even filed. For instance, if a car accident occurs the at-fault driver's insurance company may agree to settle any claims before a lawsuit is ever filed. Once a lawsuit is filed, an out of court settlement typically refers to a settlement that is voluntarily reached without court involvement and the court case is dismissed afterwards.
There really is no definitive answer to this question because it all depends on the individual case. In some situations an out of court settlement gets done immediately, before a lawsuit is ever filed. This is more likely to occur when there is no real dispute about whether the defendant is liable. For example, in an auto accident case where someone is rear ended at red light there is often no argument about who was at fault. The at-fault driver and his insurance company have much more incentive to settle right away in this situation. In other situations there may be significant disputes about whether the defendant has any liability at all. For example, in medical malpractice cases there is often a strong difference of opinion as to whether the defendants breached the standard of medical care. In situations like this the defendants and their insurers might not be willing to even consider settlement until after some of the facts have come out in discovery. The process of discovery in a medical malpractice case can often last more than year.
The release agreement will contain a written statement of the terms of the settlement between the parties. A key part of any release agreement is the language which states that the plaintiff is barred from pursuing any further claims against the defendant.
Once a settlement agreement is reach and all parties have signed and submitted the mutual release agreement, insurance companies typically pay out claims or settlement amounts within a week or two. There are always circumstances that can delay this process and all companies have different policies.