If you sustained injuries in a car crash, you should never release your medical records to another driver’s insurance company without first talking to a car accident lawyer. Although the at-fault driver’s insurance company may eventually have a legal right to review some parts of your records to determine how much compensation to pay you, it will never have the right to your entire personal medical history.
If the other driver’s insurance company has requested a signed medical release form, contact us right away. The Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will evaluate your claim for free and advise you on your options.
Why Would an Insurance Adjuster Ask to See My Car Accident Medical Records?
At some point in your Florida car accident claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to contact you directly with a request to access medical records that relate to your injuries. This request is normal. However, this request is often for the entirety of your medical history.
It is critical to remember that the insurance company—either the other driver’s carrier or your own—seeks primarily to reduce their financial liability to pay your claim. It never has your best interest in mind. If you grant access, the insurer can find something in your past medical history to tie to your current injuries.
So, when it requests a blanket release of your medical records, it intends to mine this data for something it can use to deny your claim. They could try tactics like:
- Blaming a pre-existing condition
- Attempting to delegitimize or downplay your injuries
- Saying you are not as injured as you claim
- Attempting to shift blame to another party or cause
In other words, rather than obtaining your medical records to determine what to pay you, they may use them to determine what they can get out of paying. If the insurer succeeds, you may not recover compensation for your injuries. Even a verbal approval for the at-fault driver’s insurance company could undermine your case and potentially jeopardize your settlement.
To ensure the privacy of your medical history and to prevent the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster from overextending their reach into your medical data, a lawyer can handle this part of your claim.
What Should I Do if The Other Driver’s Car Insurance Company Requests Medical Records?
An insurance company may make their request feel reasonable, routine, or required. As a layman who is also dealing with the aftermath of an injury, you may struggle to know what you must turn over. You may need to find out what medical information is relevant to your claim and what is not.
Instead, you can refer them to our lawyers. We can:
- Clarify which records to release and which can be kept private
- Help protect your legal rights and settlement claim
- Respond to all requests for information, medical or otherwise
- Deal directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, the adjuster, or any of its attorneys.
Notify our car accident attorneys immediately if you are facing a medical record request. When you have a car accident lawyer working on your behalf, you have peace of mind that your attorney will take whatever steps necessary to protect all your legal rights, including your federal right to medical privacy.
Be Wary Of Other Interactions With Insurance
Proceed with caution even if your insurance company makes any other requests or attempts to get you to agree to something early on. This includes settlement offers.
While these may seem generous, and it could be a relief to be offered money quickly, the amount likely won’t reflect the full reality of your condition. After all, if the insurance company is still trying to assess your medical condition based on records, how can they know what amount to provide for your injuries?
Although it is unlikely that it will request any information it does not have the right to view, you can ensure the protection of your rights by always checking with your lawyer before agreeing to anything.
What About a Recorded Statement?
Insurance companies will often request that a victim of a car accident provide a recorded statement describing their injuries. They will request that you describe not only the accident, but all damage and injuries suffered, as well as provide as much information regarding your medical treatment as possible.
However, it is never wise to provide a recorded statement to an insurance company regarding any portion of the accident, your injuries, or your medical treatment. You are under no obligation to provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Again, refer any such request to your lawyer and take no action until your attorney advises you.
Will I Ever Have to Sign A Medical Records Release?
Before your claim settles, you may have to sign a release for your insurance company, which will allow them to pay your medical bills. In that case, your Fort Myers car accident lawyer may advise you to sign a limited release. The release will likely have a date restriction, allowing them to access your records from the date of the accident and beyond.
Which Medical Records Will the at-Fault Driver’s Insurance Adjuster Be Able to See?
The medical data that the insurance company will have legal access to pertains only to the injuries you sustained in your car accident.
This may include:
- Reports from the emergency room where you sought treatment
- Imaging test reports for x-rays, MRI or CT scans, etc.
- Follow-up appointments with doctors and specialists
- Records of medications prescribed by your doctors
- Hospital discharge paperwork
All these records may provide relevant information that the insurance company has the right to review.
What If the Other Driver’s Insurance Adjuster Requests a Medical Exam?
Sometimes your medical records do not provide a complete picture of your injuries or, more likely, the other driver’s insurance company seeks to undermine your doctors’ reports. In that case, the adjuster may request that you submit to an independent medical evaluation or IME. Unfortunately, the IME is a misnomer because it is virtually never truly independent.
Insurance companies refer accident victims to doctors they know well—and pay—to provide a second opinion. Therefore, they are not unbiased. After you report for an IME, their doctor is likely to report that you suffered less severe injuries than your doctors reported.
In many cases, you have no legal obligation to report for an IME. However, always consult with our car accident lawyers for direction on how to handle these requests.
Contact an Attorney in Orlando, FL For Medical Record Release Questions
If you were in a car accident, you may feel pressured to release your medical records to another driver’s insurance adjuster in Orlando, FL. However, you should never provide full access to all your medical records and medical history.
To understand how your medical records might affect the status of your insurance settlement claim—and to speak directly with a Florida car accident lawyer—call the attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today. We can help you determine exactly which medical records the insurance company is legally entitled to, and which ones are your personal and private information that do not need to be shared.
We Can Help.