Dealing with insurance agencies following a car accident is never a fun task. Insurance adjusters want to help save their company money, and they’re highly trained to do just that. Even your own insurance adjuster might act as though he or she has your best interests in mind when they don’t. When it comes down to dealing with an insurance company that represents the driver who caused your accident, be very careful what you sign, what you say, and how you handle communication with them.
Signing Medical Release Forms
One of the most common misconceptions regarding car accidents and insurance is that they steer you in the right direction. It’s not the truth, because many insurance agents steer you in the right direction for them. You might assume if they ask for something such as your signature, it’s a requirement for your insurance case. This is not always true, and signing forms they ask you to sign could hurt more than it helps.
Never sign a medical release form. Don’t confuse this with providing medical information that is imperative to your case, but never sign over your rights. If an insurance adjuster asks you to sign a medical release form, understand a few things.
– Medical release forms release all medical history
– It will be used against you
– Past injuries could result in a denied claim
Let’s start by explaining medical release forms. They don’t have any fine print that stops your insurance adjuster from seeking all medical records from your life history. They don’t say anything about “This person agrees to sign medical release forms for this insurance adjuster only if they are related to this accident on this particular day,” because that’s not how it works. If you sign that release, the insurance company now has access to all your medical records.
If you’re in a car accident caused by the insurance adjuster’s client and you injure your back, you might seek compensation for medical bills. If the insurance adjuster sees you were injured in a football game when you were 8 playing for fun at the local youth facility and hurt your back, they now have the proof that your back injury could be pre-existing. It doesn’t matter if you’re now 50 and your back hasn’t had any problems with pain or suffering since you were 8. You had a back injury in the past, and the insurance company is going to use that to claim they are not responsible for your medical bills because your back as injured long before you were involved in this accident.
Now your claim is denied, and your medical bills are your responsibility to pay. Never sign a medical release form.
Medical Information is Required
Medical records and accident cases are confusing. You know now not to sign a medical release, but you might need to provide additional medical information. The insurance company does require proof of your injuries to process your claim and handle your case. You can obtain this information from your doctor, but they might ask for more. Make sure the insurance company is asking for specific information from the case. For example, if you have a back injury and needed X-rays, but the doctor didn’t include them in the paperwork he or she sent to the insurance adjuster, you’ll have to get copies of your X-rays. This is directly related to your case, and it’s fine to send that information.
Contact an Attorney
It’s confusing knowing who is working for you, who is working against you, and what you should and should not sign or prepare for an insurance adjuster. You’re certainly not alone in your confusion, which is why we are here to help. Our office does not charge clients a fee to consult us about their case, and we never charge until we win your case. If you have any questions about medical releases, requirements, or paperwork the at-fault driver’s insurance company wants you to sign, you can call us anytime to discuss your case. An attorney can be assigned to your case to discuss all legal requirements with the insurance company on your behalf to reduce some stress.