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Should I release my medical records to another driver’s insurance adjuster?
- March 29, 2017
Accidents are confusing. They bring on so many emotions, and so many questions when you’re involved in one. Things you’ve never considered are suddenly more important than ever before, and your life has been turned upside down. When this happens, you turn to those who know the most about car accidents. It’s not uncommon to feel that your insurance adjuster or the adjuster of the at-fault party knows more about accidents than you. After all, the insurance adjuster deals with car accidents, accident victims, and the entire process on a daily basis, often more than once per day. This is the person you can trust to tell you what to do, to advise you on the fastest way to reach a settlement, and the best way to get through the situation and put it behind you.
Unfortunately, this is a misconception. The insurance adjuster is not working for you. It might seem that they are, but they are working for their company, and their company wants them to minimize the amount of money they owe you. They want to protect their own interests, and that means they will do whatever it takes to ensure you do not get more than required. If an insurance adjuster asks you to sign a medical release form, don’t do it.
Why Not Sign a Medical Release?
A medical release form is often presented to you by an insurance adjuster as something very helpful. If you sign this form, we can seek medical documents from the accident from your doctors on our own rather than waiting on you to do it for us. It’s less work for you, it means we can settle your case faster, and that means you’ll have money in your pocket that much sooner. That’s how the insurance adjuster is going to present this document to you.
You won’t question it. They need accident records from the doctor outlining your injuries and the cost of your care, and they need to settle your case. You should sign it and get it over with faster, right? Wrong. A medical release form is a form that grants the authorized party access to any and all of your medical records from the day you were born.
The other insurance company wants this information for a reason you might not realize. Yes, they do need some of your medical records for their case, but they don’t need all your medical records. They merely want those records so they can go back and see if you’ve ever had an injury even remotely similar to the injuries you sustained in the accident caused by their client. If they can find any similar injuries, the insurance company will argue your injuries and/or health conditions were pre-existing and not caused by the accident.
If they can prove this, they might not be required to pay you anything. Now you have all those medical bills from your accident, and no one is reimbursing you for them. Can you afford to pay that kind of medical bill out of pocket? The answer is usually no, which is why you never sign a medical release of any sort.
What Do You Sign?
Now you’re left with another question about what you do sign and don’t sign when medical records are in question. It’s not always simple to figure out what’s required and what’s not, because insurance adjusters are trained to act as though everything they present to you for a signature is required. The best way to ensure you don’t make the wrong decision in signing any documents is to contact a personal injury attorney.
Our attorneys know the law. We know what’s required, what’s not, and what adjusters do to try and win their own case against you. We can tell you whether or not to sign a paper, how to speak to the adjuster, and we can help you protect yourself against the unethical behavior insurance adjusters are famous for. Let us help you when you don’t know what to do. There are rights protecting you, but insurance adjusters hope you aren’t aware of them so they can take advantage.