Medical release forms give insurance company adjusters access to your complete medical records. You are essentially giving ammunition to the insurance adjuster to disprove your claim and opening a door to question your credibility and claim. The only time it’s okay to sign a medical release is when it is needed by your own insurance company to pay your medical bills and process the claim.
It’s prudent to consult with a hard-working and genuine personal injury attorney in West Virginia as soon as possible after your car accident so that the insurance company has little scope to find ways of eliciting self-damaging statements from you in order to deny or reduce your compensation.
What is a Medical Authorization?
General medical authorization basically gives third-party informational access to all your medical records. HIPAA prevents any third party, even an insurance company, from accessing a patient’s medical information. This is the reason they require your consent in the form of medical authorization. You essentially waive this right by signing the medical release form.
These forms can be designed to be limited or broad in scope. They may be worded in such a manner as to grant access to anything in your records. Insurance companies use these generic forms to get victims of personal injury to grant access their medical records. The authorization also allows them to speak with your doctors without you being present.
Your Medical History Can Reduce the Claim Amount
It is true that your medical history can be held against you. Any gaps in your medical history can prove to be a problem in acquiring a rightful claim. Based on this, there are certain legal avenues that can be taken by you and your attorney to maximize your compensation amount. In most cases, victims are not required to share anything prior to the accident with the responsible insurance company to obtain the necessary settlement during the negotiation process.
Insurance companies are known to habitually dig through medical files to find evidence that they believe may help them win your lawsuit. The insurance company of the other party will try various tactics to get their hands on your medical history. They may fool you into signing the release or promise a quick settlement among other things.
Allowing access to your medical records without using due judgment can devalue your claim. Your claim may be severely damaged if the insurance company argues that your injuries were pre-existing. Medical records contain information on your past diagnosis, prescriptions, and treatments. They may try to use your past injuries as an excuse to get away with reducing or denying the claim.
Incomplete Medical Records Can Create Issues
If you file a claim right after the accident, your medical records are more than likely to be incomplete. The doctor may not have fully assessed your injuries to determine the extent of treatment required unless the medical records are complete in all aspects. You may not have a complete picture of the full extent of your treatments and injuries till months have passed.
This makes it important to wait and provide medical information only when you have recovered completely or are aware of the extent of your injuries. While it is good to be proactive in personal injury matters, it is never advisable to jump the gun. Instead, you should speak with a qualified personal injury attorney that understands your individual situation.
By allowing the other insurance provider access to your medical information too soon, you may inadvertently cause disputes to arise requiring a compromise on the compensation amount.
Medical Authorization Forms Give Access to Confidential Information
You agree to release your personal medical information by signing a medical release form. This information can be used by the insurance company to deny the injury claim and lower the compensation amount received. For instance, the adjuster may claim the condition is pre-existing and that you don’t deserve the “pain and suffering” component.
A Seasoned Lawyer can Protect You from the Insurer’s Tactics to Diminish Your Claim
The insurance adjuster gets immediately cut off from speaking with you when you have a personal injury attorney on your side. Any request will need to go through the attorney, who has the required expertise and legal acumen to vet them.
Your lawyer will decide which requests seem reasonable and can aid your claim. You should simply let the insurance company know that you have an attorney if they call or write to you.
It is important to have a lawyer handle your claim since most insurance companies try to reduce or minimize compensation amounts. The attorney will provide the insurance company with the records truly needed and ensure that you have all the documentation required to prove your claim. An experienced attorney will also protect you from being taken advantage of.
Legal Help is Here from Reputable Personal Injury Attorneys in West Virginia
If you or someone you love has been injured because of the negligent actions of another, let the results-driven attorneys at Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. bring over 50 years of experience to work for you and your loved ones. Our clients get the personalized attention they deserve, which allows us to prepare strong legal claims, leading to successful verdicts and outcomes.
To request your free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 800-497-0234 or complete this online form.