Should You Share Your Medical Records After a Car Accident?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of John Sloan with Sloan Firm.
Figuring out what to do after a car accident can be almost as stressful as the accident itself. It’s important to refrain from sharing any information including medical records with anyone other than an attorney. While an insurance adjuster may claim that they need access to your medical records to verify the injury they are supposed to compensate, unless the medical release is carefully worded, this could give them access to your entire medical history, something they could potentially use to decrease the value of your claim. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, reach out to a car accident attorney to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.
Refrain from discussing your case; this includes your injuries.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s important to refrain from discussing the accident, your injuries, and your medical record with anyone other than an attorney. This includes posting about the accident on social media, a mistake made by too many. Car accident attorneys know exactly what information the insurance provider does and does not need to pay your claim. If an insurance company is pushing you for more information, you can let them know that your attorney will be in touch, even if you have not yet secured your attorney. Similarly, it’s a good idea to refrain from discussing your case with your medical provider; anything you say during your visit could be noted in your medical records and later used against you to deny or reduce your claim.
Do not sign any releases from an insurance company.
Unfortunately, this rule applies to your own insurance as well as that of the other party. Certain release forms may entitle you to minuscule compensation upfront and waive your right to the rest of the compensation you might otherwise receive. Other releases may give the insurance company access to view your entire medical history, which could affect how much they are willing to offer for your injuries after the car accident. Pre-existing medical conditions could reduce the value of your claim when investigated by unscrupulous insurance adjusters.
It’s always important to talk to an attorney before signing something.
Car accident attorneys generally offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients do not have to pay for their services unless they win their case. An attorney should be able to quickly give you an idea of what is or is not safe to sign, and can greatly expedite the process of compensation after a car accident. Letting an attorney deal with the insurance company on your behalf is also a good way to protect you from bad faith insurance practices, which occur when an insurance company denies or unfairly reduces an otherwise valid claim. Allegations of bad faith are serious, and insurance companies are less likely to attempt it with an experienced car accident attorney on your side.
To learn more about what to do after a car accident or for help dealing with an insurance provider, talk to a car accident attorney today.