Should I Release My Medical Records to Insurance Adjusters?
If you suffer injuries in a collision with another driver who was clearly at fault for the accident, then one of the next steps toward recovery is to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. Of course, the insurance company will want to see proof that your claim is legitimate, and this may involve medical records that clearly show the extent of your injuries, recovery, and any permanent damage resulting from the accident. It may be necessary to release some medical records to an insurance adjuster, but it’s important to know which records apply.
Consult Your Attorney
Anyone dealing with an insurance adjuster should have experienced legal representation; this is the best defense against possible claim denials and lowball offers, and hiring a Phoenix car accident attorney can also help keep your personal rights protected. An injured driver should only release medical records in a very limited capacity. This means only providing medical records related to the incident in question.
For example, imagine a driver suffers a broken arm, several broken ribs, and a concussion in an accident. For a subsequent insurance claim, the injured driver should only release the record of treatment for those injuries and the doctor’s notes concerning prognosis and future medical issues arising from the injuries. It is not necessary for the injured driver to release his or her complete medical record.
In most cases, it is best for you to leave correspondence with insurance adjusters to your attorney. This is the best way to prevent an insurance company from using your own medical records against your claim. It is impossible to predict how an insurance adjuster could twist elements of a claimant’s medical record to the detriment of the claim, so it is best to have an attorney handle it.
Dealing With Insurance Adjusters
It is important to know how to deal with insurance adjusters’ requests for your medical history. For example, an adjuster may ask for specific medical records that seem unrelated to your claim. Imagine an insurance adjuster asking for records from your psychotherapist after an accident that caused broken bones. There would be no real grounds for the adjuster to request these records other than to search for a reason to deny your claim. For example, the adjuster may want to look for notes from your therapist that may indicate you are an unsafe driver or somehow contributed to your crash.
Other requests may be more reasonable and logical. If you broke bones, then the insurance adjuster will likely request your radiology records to see your x-rays rather than only accepting your doctor’s notes about your injury. Again, these situations are easiest to navigate with a trial attorney on your side. Your attorney will be able to field these requests for your records and only supply whatever is necessary and reasonable for the given claim.
Statements and Settlements
Another good rule of thumb is to never sign any type of written statement for an insurance adjuster. If an adjuster requests a sworn statement, have your attorney handle it. If an adjuster contacts you directly, reply to requests for your records by simply stating that you will consider the adjuster’s request and will contact them again soon with your response. This is when you should have your attorney step in to handle the situation.
Finally, always consult your Phoenix personal injury attorney before accepting any insurance settlement. Remember, insurance companies are in business to make money, and paying claims loses money, so they generally look for any reason to lowball a claim. If an adjuster responds with a better offer than you expected, this could be due to information you do not have, and you could be eligible for even more. When you accept a settlement offer it usually comes with the contingency that you cannot pursue further damages for the same claims. You could unintentionally lock yourself out of additional compensation.
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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.