After a serious car accident many people feel disoriented and unsure how to proceed. You may be angry, or you may want to put the crash behind you and get on with your life. In the middle of your struggle to come to terms with what happened to you, the insurance company asks you to sign a medical release form. Do you just go ahead and sign it so you can get all the paperwork out of the way? After all, what’s the big deal?
Signing a Medical Release Isn't As Simple As You Would Think
Asking auto accident victims to sign a medical release form is a common practice for many insurance companies. It might seem like a reasonable request to many people – after all, the insurer need to know about the injuries you suffered in the accident and how you were treated in order to properly reimburse you. It isn’t that simple. You might be giving the insurance company more information than they need; you could be giving them access to your entire medical history.
Really the answer all depends on what kind of medical release form the insurance company is asking for. Do they want a blanket release that allows them access to your entire medical history? Or, is the release very specific and asking for only records relevant to your injury?
The Real Reason the Insurance Company Wants You to Sign the Form
The purpose of a blanket release form is to give the company complete access to your medical records. One reason that the insurance company wants your records is to find out if you had a pre-existing condition that would allow them to deny your claim. A pre-existing condition is something that you suffered from before the accident. For example, the insurer could be looking to see if you have had back and neck problems before your automobile accident. That way they can argue that the back and neck pain you experienced as a result of the accident was in fact already there – even if that’s not true.
Basically the whole point of asking you for a medical release form is for the insurance company to find a way to get out of paying your medical expenses. Why else would they want access to your entire medical history? To maintain control of your personal records, you could submit copies of the relevant records yourself. However, the best thing is for you to speak with your attorney about the medical release form request and get their expert legal advice.
You are entitled to collect your own records and provide copies to the insurance company. This allows you to select the appropriate records and keep your privacy rights intact.
Make Sure You're Informed
As a consumer, you are entitled to know your rights when you're dealing with the insurance company after an accident. The skilled lawyers at VB Attorneys recommend that you do your research, get as much information as possible, and consult with an experienced personal injury attorney - even if you think your claim is minor - before you sign any forms or accept any settlement offers.
To consult with our experienced attorneys about your accident, give us a call at 877.724.7800 or fill out a contact form on our website.