Think twice before agreeing to sign a general medical records release.
After you have been involved in any type of accident, the insurance company for the responsible party will likely ask you to sign a document that allows them to access your medical records. This may seem like a perfectly reasonable request; after all, the insurance company will need to look at your records in order to verify your claim and pay you what you are owed.
But in most cases, the insurance company doesn’t just want to look to see how much they should be paying you. Instead, they are looking for ways to recede or eliminate the claim — potentially leaving you without compensation for your injuries.
When you sign a medical release or authorization form, you are giving the insurance company or other party permission to dig into your medical records. This could allow them to look at absolutely everything in your file, not just information related to this accident. They could then claim that you have a pre-existing condition, that you’re exaggerating your injuries, or that your injuries are not as serious as what you claim. They could even use irrelevant information from your files — such as that you have a diagnosed mental health condition — to argue that you somehow should not be compensated for your injuries resulting from the accident. If you have a history of headaches, they could use this information to try to claim that your traumatic brain injury from the accident did not cause your symptoms. No matter what is in your medical history, there is a possibility that it could be used against you by an insurance company attempting to pay as little as possible. For example, if you had a medical incident in your past that could potentially impact your ability to drive, this could be used to claim that you were at fault for the accident — even if the issue is fully resolved and in no way affected the accident. Signing a medical release opens the door to the insurance company snoop through ALL of your medical records, potentially giving them a way to deny or minimize your claim.
So what should you do if you are asked to sign a medical authorization or release? Do not sign it, and take it to your personal injury attorney. She or he will be able to review it in detail with you, and discuss your rights, including your right to privacy. You will ultimately be required to turn over medical records related to your injuries from the accident — but this does not mean that everything in your medical history is fair game.
At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, our attorneys are highly experienced with representing clients in all phases of personal injury cases, including advising clients and potential clients about whether or not they should sign documents from insurance companies. Our team has a 95% success rate, and we have recovered more than $2 billion dollars for more than 100,000 clients. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for our clients, and our initial consultations are always offered free of charge. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or to learn more about your rights when it comes to signing medical releases in personal injury cases.