In the days immediately following a car accident that resulted in personal injuries, you’ll receive documents from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. One of these documents will be a medical authorization release. By signing this release, you’re providing the insurance company authorization to examine your medical history.
It’s crucial that you don’t sign a medical authorization release without talking to an attorney about it first. Remember that the other driver’s insurance company does not want to help you out here, and they’re not simply trying to get to the bottom of things. Their goal is to pay as little money as possible to you for your personal injury claim, which means the only reason that they will be looking through your medical history is to find evidence that they can use against you.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you since you have nothing to hide, it doesn’t matter if you sign this medical authorization. You’d be surprised at what an insurance company case use against you.
Let’s say that you suffered an injury to your rotator cuff during the car accident. You sign a medical authorization release, and then the other insurance company digs through your medical records until it finds that one year ago, you complained of shoulder stiffness to your doctor. Then, it says that you had a preexisting condition, which means it’s not going to pay as much for your injury claim.
Another common way that insurance companies use your medical history against you is in the statements you’ve made regarding your accident injuries. With all the adrenaline going through your body after a car accident, you may have an injury that you haven’t even noticed. It’s normal for injuries to become much more apparent in the days following a car accident. However, if you told a doctor you saw immediately after the accident that you felt fine, the other driver’s insurance company could then claim that you’re making up or exaggerating your injury claims.
Finally, an insurance company could even use the frequency of your previous doctor’s visits against you. If you have gone to the doctor often, the insurance company could say that you’ve exaggerated conditions in the past, and that you’re likely exaggerating your injuries from the car accident.
One more reason why you shouldn’t sign a medical authorization release is the simple fact that your personal medical history is nobody’s business but your own and your doctor’s. There’s no reason why an insurance adjuster should have free rein to inspect your medical history.
An insurance adjuster may tell you that they need to see your medical information so they can verify your injury claim. While this is true, it doesn’t mean that they need to see everything. All you need to show them is medical documentation that relates to the injuries you suffered in the accident.
The best way to know what documents to send to the other insurance company is to consult with an attorney. Your attorney can advise you on what to do and what to send. When it comes to car accidents, the less actions you take before you talk to an attorney, the better.
There is one piece of paperwork you will need to sign eventually, and that’s a release of all claims and liability, which the insurance company will require before they settle your claim. Since this will release them of liability, it’s very important to talk to your attorney before you sign this. You could also have your attorney prepare a release for you instead of signing the one that the insurance company provides.