If you were injured in a car accident and another party is liable, you’re likely going to receive a medical authorization release from that party’s insurance company. By signing this release, you’re giving the insurance company the authorization to inspect your medical history.
You should never sign a medical authorization release from the liable party’s insurance company. Instead, you should consult with a lawyer.
When you sign a medical authorization release, you’re putting your claim at risk, and you don’t benefit at all. It’s important to remember that the other party’s insurance adjuster is not your friend, and they don’t want to help you. Their job is to minimize the amount of money their company pays you, and the ideal situation for them is that they get your claim dismissed. All you’re doing if you sign that release is helping them fight your claim.
You may think that you have nothing to hide, but an insurance adjuster could still use information in your medical history as evidence against you, because they’ll have access to your entire medical history. Let’s say that this car accident resulted in a serious shoulder injury that you needed surgery to repair. If the liable party’s insurance adjuster notices in your medical records that you complained of some shoulder stiffness to your doctor a year ago, they could use that to claim that this was a preexisting condition. It could end with you receiving less compensation, or even no compensation at all.
The insurance adjuster will also be looking for any inconsistencies in statements you’ve made to doctors regarding your injuries. This can be a major issue for you, especially if you had symptoms that didn’t occur immediately after the accident, which is common. People often start noticing injuries in the days following a car accident, after the adrenaline has worn off. While this is normal, an insurance adjuster won’t see it that way. If you noticed an injury a day after your car accident that you didn’t mention while at the emergency room, an insurance adjuster could claim that you made it up.
Insurance adjusters can even use frequent trips to the doctor against you in your case. They could claim that even though you were injured, you have a history of going to the doctor for minor reasons, and that your injuries aren’t as bad you claim. They’ll then use this argument to try to reduce the amount of your claim.
Remember that your medical history is your private information. You shouldn’t allow an insurance company to go through your entire medical history just because you were in an accident, but that’s exactly what you’re doing if you sign that medical release authorization.
Now, you will need to provide the liable party’s insurance adjuster with some medical documents if you want them to pay you for your claim. However, you should only be providing them with documentation related to the injuries that you sustained in the car crash, nothing more.
The best way to make sure that you’re providing the insurance adjuster with only the information you need to provide and not harming your own claim is by consulting with a lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to determine which documents to send to the adjuster. Another benefit of hiring a lawyer is that you can then refer the insurance adjuster to your lawyer if they try to contact you. Insurance adjusters often try to trick you into saying something that they can later use against you. When you hire a lawyer, you eliminate that risk.
Before the insurance company settles your claim, you will need to sign a release of all claims and liability. Unlike a medical authorization release, this is one document you must sign if you want to receive compensation. However, you should also talk to your lawyer before you sign this. Your lawyer may even prepare a release for you, instead of having you sign the one provided by the other insurance company.
The most important thing to remember in regards to injury claims is that the less you say and do before hiring a lawyer, the better. The job of the insurance adjuster is not to help you or to make sure you receive fair compensation, it’s to minimize your compensation. That means they’ll use every trick in the book to do so, including trying to convince you to sign forms you don’t fully understand, including medical authorization releases and liability releases. Consult with a lawyer as soon as possible so you can get the compensation that you deserve.