After being injured in an accident, it is important that you inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible, allowing the insurance company time to conduct a proper investigation. You should also hire a Los Angeles car accident attorney as soon as possible.
As part of the insurance company’s investigative process, you will likely be sent a variety of documents that you are asked to sign. One of these documents will be an authorization for a release of your personal medical information. While most people understand that they should not sign a release of claims–which means that they are settling their case and forfeiting the right to pursue further damages–they don’t understand the harm in signing an authorization for a release of medical information. Here’s what you should know–
What Is Authorization for Release of Medical Information?
When you give an insurance company authorization for release of your medical information with your signature on it, you are allowing the insurance company the right to access all of your medical records and medical history; if you do not sign this, HIPAA laws protect your privacy. This means that once you sign, an insurance company can dig into your medical history, and review any of your past or current conditions. Conditions that may raise a red flag could include:
- Any seizure or neurological disorders;
- Sleep apnea, insomnia, or a history of fatigue;
- The use of certain medications;
- Less-than-perfect vision;
- Surgeries, fractures, soft tissue injuries, and other injury types; and
- I Have Nothing to Hide – What’s the Big Deal?
You may be thinking, “Who cares if I wear glasses, or don’t sleep well! I have nothing to hide. What’s the big deal?”
While this is a sensible argument, it’s important to remember that an insurance company is looking for any way to diminish the value of your claim. If you have been injured in the past, the insurance company may allege that the injury claim you’re filing isn’t valid because your car accident-related injury was preexisting; after all, your medical records show that you’ve received treatment for the injury in the past. Or, the insurance company may try to blame you for the accident. For example, your medical records show that you take a prescription medication where fatigue is a side effect – did you drift off while behind the wheel, causing your crash?
Don’t Sign Anything Without Talking to a Lawyer First
The best approach when dealing with an insurance company is simply to not sign anything unless it is reviewed by an attorney first. This certainly includes a release of your medical records, as well as a release of claim, property damage release, and anything else.
Our Lawyers Can Represent You
Our personal injury and car accident lawyers at the office of El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can represent you if you’ve been injured in an accident and are pursuing compensation. We have years of experience, and are ready to start working on your claim today. Please call us directly or send us a message to request your free consultation.