Car accident victims may receive medical records release requests from an insurance company at some point in their claims. Since all medical records are protected under state and federal law, insurers cannot access them without your written permission. It is vital that you do not sign these releases without consulting with a personal injury attorney.
Dangers of Releasing Medical Records to an Insurance Company
Insurers may request medical documents for many reasons, such as to verify your injuries, estimate the costs of your treatment, or to authorize payment of your medical bills. Since many victims are not used to dealing with insurance companies after a crash, they may not realize that they should never sign release requests without first speaking to an attorney.
Insurance companies may request that you sign a medical release in order to:
- Access your complete medical history. Insurers will flag anything in your medical history that can be used to discredit you and devalue your claim. Your medical records may contain personal and private information that you would not want to be shared publicly, which can be leveraged by an insurance company—even if the information has nothing to do with your injury claim.
- Look for weaknesses in your claim. Insurance companies will comb through your records and look for ways to deny your claim. This can include identifying any preexisting conditions you did not mention, medical treatments for your injuries that were expensive or unnecessary, or a doctor’s written opinion that he or she does not agree with your assessment of your injury.
- Pressure you to settle quickly. Insurance representatives are trained to identify injuries and conditions that can lead to further treatment and lifelong complications. Adjusters may offer a fast settlement that seems reasonable to the patient, but the patient will not be able to recover any additional payment from the insurer once the offer is accepted.
Our personal injury attorneys can review any records requests and ensure that only the necessary information is sent to the insurance company. Contact the Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm via our online contact form to schedule an appointment in our Illinois or Missouri offices, or download your FREE copy of one of our books, When the Rules of the Road Get Broken: A Guide to Illinois Car Wreck Cases or The Missouri Car Crash Guide: Don't Wreck Your Car Crash Case!