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 medical records, 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, call us right away at 800-747-3733. The lawyers at Anidjar & Levine will evaluate your claim for free and advise you on your options.
What Should I Do if the Other Driver’s Car Insurance Company Requests 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.
You should never deal directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, the adjuster, or any of its attorneys. Instead, refer them to your lawyer. Notify your car accident attorney immediately if this happens, and relay its request. Even a verbal approval for the at-fault driver’s insurance company could undermine your case and potentially jeopardize your settlement.
Proceed with caution even if your insurance company makes any requests. 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.
Finally, never give a statement to anyone about your accident. The insurance companies may request that you give a statement, possibly a recorded statement, about the circumstances of your accident. Again, refer any such request to your lawyer and take no action until your attorney advises you.
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 as well as 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, and hospital discharge paperwork may provide relevant information that the insurance company has the right to review.
You will ensure the protection of your legal rights and settlement claim if you allow your lawyer to respond to all such requests.
Why Would an Insurance Adjuster Ask to See My Car Accident Medical Records?
To determine the extent of your injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster may request any medical records that relate to the accident.
When you have a car accident lawyer to represent you, your attorney can handle all such requests for your medical records. Your lawyer will provide all of your relevant records to the insurance company.
This is critical 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.
It is critical for you to understand 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.
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.
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.
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. 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 your car accident lawyer for direction on how to handle these requests.
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 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.
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 Anidjar & Levine today at 800-747-3733.