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Should I sign medical records requests after a car accident?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2022 | Car Accidents

The insurance company should take care of you after a car crash, or at least that’s what they want you to believe. You pay for their services, so they should handle your claim in good faith. You expect them to want to help you, not to actively work against you, and they may take advantage of that belief.

With the adjuster handling your claim calls and says that they need access to your medical records, your first thought may be to sign the papers. However, what you do not realize is that the adjuster may not need that information to pay your claim but is instead hoping to find something that could deny you coverage or reduce how much the company has to pay you.

When an insurance adjuster wants access to your medical records, you will generally want to speak to a lawyer first. Otherwise, the paperwork you sign could affect your claim and how much compensation you receive.

Federal law limits company access to your medical history

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protect individuals from the unnecessary sharing of their personal medical records. Unless someone has a court order or your written consent, they typically cannot access any part of your medical records.

Insurance companies get around HIPAA by having people filing claims sign privacy paperwork to grant them access to their medical records. The adjuster may tell you they just needed to review recent treatment records, but they may then look for other issues.

For example, they might look for signs of a pre-existing condition as a way to deny you benefits or look for evidence of medical non-compliance to reduce what they pay you in the future. A lawyer can help you communicate with the insurance company and prevent them from taking advantage of you.

What if they do need access?

It is possible that the insurance company may need specific records. A lawyer familiar with your case can help you draft documents that only give them access to the exact medical records necessary to properly process your claim. They can also help you handle the negotiation process so that you can focus on your recovery instead of sneaky insurance tactics.

Having the right support when handling an insurance claim after a car crash will help you get the repayment you need for your medical bills and other losses.