Read it before you sign it!

Recently we’ve had quite a few files where one of the parties to the law suit claims to not have read a document before they signed it.  The document, of course, had major consequences to them and they were now learning the price they were going to have to pay.

Some of the most frustrating excuses (and my responses to them) include:

  1. Lawyers are too expensive.  Really? Because it would have been $ 500.00 to give you an opinion on it, but now you’re going to spend $ 50,000.00 to litigate this.
  2. I trusted my significant other to take care of it for me.  Really?  Because no significant other has ever taken advantage of another?  I guess that is why family law lawyers are not busy …. oh wait, they’re VERY busy.
  3. I don’t read English well enough and I was too embarrassed to admit it.  Really?There is no shame in learning a new language, but there is shame in burdening yourself with debt due to embarrassment.
  4. I didn’t have time to have the contract filled in, so I signed a blank one and told the salesperson to fill it in according to our discussions.  Really?  You think that signing a blank form is a great idea?  Would you sign a blank cheque? (if you would, watch the spelling on my last name, it’s tricky <G>).

Overall, I’m seeing a trend of more people believing that they’re not responsible for themselves and their actions.  If you’re going to sign a document, you’re responsible for it.  If you don’t want to take the time to understand it, then don’t sign it.

Oh, and if you do sign something you don’t understand and something goes wrong and I end up suing you on behalf of the other party to the contract, please do not whine to me about how this is “not your fault”.  It is.  Look in the mirror.  You did this to yourself when you signed something you didn’t understand.

Inga B. Andriessen JD