Always be very selective about the medical information you share with the insurance adjuster representing an at-fault party. They will do anything they can to deny your claim or reduce its value and your medical records may contain information that could ensure that happens.
Every accident, case and claim is different. If you have an auto accident attorney, you may want to speak with them before signing any releases.
In some cases, your own medical records may be used against you to deny that your injury was caused by or related to the accident at all. It’s common for adjusters to request full access to medical records and dig up a “pre-existing condition” that allows them to deny certain claim items.
Sharing Medical Records
It is necessary to release certain medical documents to the insurance adjuster, but always follow careful protocol. Have your medical records sent to you, first. Review them, and then only relay the records that you feel are relevant to your case. You can discuss this with your attorney as well.
You always have the right to request insurance companies justify why they want certain records.
You can also argue that certain requests are “unreasonable” if they require you to give up your privacy or release medical information that is burdensome to provide.
What Records Do I Have to Share with the Insurance Adjuster?
Certain medical records must be released to complete the insurance claim and receive your settlement offer. Documents related to your initial visit and diagnosis are necessary.
X-rays, for example, show a clear record of your injury. The medical documentation provided by your diagnosing physician can show how your injuries are directly related to your accident.
You also want a record of treatments, services, and other line items provided as part of your injury care. Save all of your billing statements and discharge papers. If you receive separate bills for different services, save every copy.
Keep receipts for expenses that you had to pay as a direct result of your accident. This includes prescription drugs and medical devices as well as the cost of traveling to your appointments, parking, and more.
What Medical Records Should I Avoid Sharing?
Avoid sharing any records you feel aren’t immediately relevant and necessary to your claim. It is common for insurers to request follow-up information once they receive documentation from you.
For instance, they may ask for the chart from the radiologist to see the professional medical interpretation of the X-ray and not just the X-ray itself. When you deciding which medical records to share, remember:
- You have the right to consider every request and decide if it is reasonable, relevant, and necessary.
- Your medical privacy is important, and disclosing unnecessary information could constitute a breach of that privacy.
- You also have the right to refuse any “unreasonably burdensome” request, such as a request for medical records from the school nurse at every institution you attended as a child.
- The insurance company must be prepared to justify why they want the records. If you argue that such a request is burdensome, they must be prepared to show how it isn’t.
- Avoid granting a blanket request to access all of your medical records. This will inevitably lead to the insurance adjuster digging for reasons to reduce or deny your claim. The more access you provide them with, the more opportunities they will have.
Instead of granting the direct release of your medical records from your provider to the insurance company, first have the documents sent to you.
Review the documents yourself, decide what is necessary to share, and then forward the documents to them. Understand how each car accident case is investigated differently and speak with your lawyer. Track all costs associated with providing such documentation.
Many providers will charge for extra copies of medical records, and you may decide to photocopy the records yourself. All of these costs are claimable as part of your insurance settlement, so don’t get stuck with paying for them out of pocket if you don’t have to.
Assert Your Rights During an Injury Claim with Help from Experienced Car Accident Attorneys
Your legal rights may be unclear or confusing, and insurers will take advantage of this fact nearly every time. You may be led to assume that something like releasing your entire medical history is normal when it is not.
Steinger, Greene & Feiner are here to assert your legal rights and protect them. We keep you informed of your legal options. We are familiar with legal strategies that have helped our past clients successfully obtain compensation for their injury losses.
Call us today at (800) 431-6841 or contact us online to learn more about your rights during the claims process during a free, no-obligation consultation. And when you are ready, contact our Nashville car accident law firm, or our Florida car accident law firm for more guidance.