When you are injured in a car accident and need to make a claim for compensation with the negligent driver’s insurance company, you must make many important decisions that could affect the amount of your settlement. One decision that will be forced on you soon after your collision by the other driver’s insurance adjuster is whether you should sign a medical authorization for the release of your medical records. The insurance adjuster will make it sound like he needs them to pay you what you are entitled to. Unfortunately, this is far from the real truth of why he wants your medical records.
Why the Insurance Company Really Wants Your Medical Records
While it is true that you must provide medical records regarding your injuries to settle your claim with the insurance company, this is not why they want the records. What is the adjuster looking for? He is looking for information that would give him ammunition to deny or reduce your claim—such as a pre-existing injury to the same body part. Even if you just mentioned a discomfort and had little or no treatment in the past, the insurance adjuster could argue that this incident—and not the accident—caused your injuries. This is the main reason not to sign the authorization for release of information.
There are other reasons why signing this document is not in your interests and could hurt your case. Here’s why you want to say no:
Invasion of your privacy. Giving a blanket medical authorization could be an invasion of your privacy. Your medical records could contain private, sensitive information about you that has nothing to do with your crash and that you do not want others to know about.
Incomplete records. If you agree to sign a medical release soon after you were injured, the records you provide could be incomplete. It is unlikely that your doctor or you will know the full extent of your injuries, the treatments you will need, or your prognosis until months after your injury—depending on the severity of your injuries. You do not want to provide medical records—or settle your case—before you know this information so you receive the full compensation you are entitled to.
Reduce your settlement. You could make it more difficult for your attorney to negotiate a settlement for you—at least for what you deserve—by giving a medical authorization. Disputes in your case can ultimately result in a lower settlement because your attorney could feel forced to compromise on some of these issues.
If you were hurt in a car crash, you want to take the steps that will help maximize your settlement—not hurt it. One way to do this is to let an experienced car accident attorney review your medical records and provide only the necessary ones to the insurance adjuster. Start an online chat today schedule a free case evaluation with David Brauns.