After an accident due to someone else’s negligence – whether a car accident, a slip and fall, a motorcycle accident, or even a pedestrian accident – you will likely hear from the negligent party’s insurance company, and quickly. Insurance companies, like other companies, work to protect their bottom line. As such, they may try to minimize their financial responsibility after an accident by asking the injured person to sign a medical release form.
While this request may seem routine, signing a medical release can seriously impact your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and medical bills. So, what is a medical release form and how can it affect your case? Let’s take a look at how an insurance company uses medical release forms to its advantage and why working with a personal injury lawyer can help you maximize your chances of winning your personal injury claim.
What is a Medical Release?
A medical release is an authorization form that allows insurance companies to obtain your medical history from your healthcare provider. Most medical release forms from insurance companies are blanket authorizations, meaning they will have access to all of your medical records and documented medical treatments, not just the ones related to your injury accident.
The insurance adjuster may claim the medical release form is necessary as part of the investigation into your claim. While you will have to provide your medical records to prove the seriousness of your injuries, you have the right to protect your health information and do not have to share it directly with the insurance company.
If you’ve been in an injury accident and the negligent party’s insurance company asks you to sign a medical release form, reach out to a personal injury attorney immediately. Signing the release form can seriously put your personal injury claim at risk.
Should I Sign a Medical Release After an Injury Accident?
In the days after an injury accident, you may be overwhelmed or confused about the steps to take. When the insurance company calls and requests you to sign a medical release form, you may think this is routine and that you are required to comply.
The truth is, you are not required to sign the form for the insurance company. In fact, when you sign a medical release form, the information in your medical records could potentially hurt your case. While it is true an adjuster needs medical information and medical bills related to the accident in question, it’s not in your best interest to give them unlimited access to your entire health history.
Here are important reasons to NOT sign the form and release your patient medical information:
- Your medical history can be used against you The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim wants your medical records to search for anything they can use to reduce or deny your claim. They may look for previous accidents or pre-existing conditions. This information can be used to argue your injuries were not caused by the accident, but rather happened at a previous time.
- Your medical health care records may not be up to date If you sign a medical release form in the days immediately following your accident, your medical records will not likely be up to date. Any doctor’s appointments, follow-up visits, physical therapy, or other related medical appointments will not yet be documented. In order to receive fair compensation for your injuries, all medical expenses should be considered, not just the ones in the days after your accident.
- You are providing access to your personal confidential information When you sign a release form, the insurance company has access to ALL of your personal health history and data including your name, birthday, and even your social security number. On top of that confidential information, the insurance company will have access to medical history not related to the accident including mental health care services, medical specialist appointments, and other sensitive information they do not need to settle your claim.
- You can weaken your personal injury case Insurance adjusters are very good at finding information in medical records that can weaken your case and reduce the amount of compensation you receive for your personal injury claim. As a result, you may feel obligated to accept a lower offer than you deserve.
Whether you’ve been in a car crash or other motor vehicle accident, hurt on someone’s property or involved in a slip and fall, do not sign a medical release form before seeking legal advice from an attorney. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal system and work on your behalf to seek the compensation you deserve.
How Personal Injury Attorneys Help After an Accident
If an insurance adjuster contacts you after an accident and requests you sign a release form, wait. Further, if the insurance company asks you to sign ANY form, do not sign anything until you’ve contacted an attorney. An attorney can advise you on your rights in a personal injury case.
Personal injury attorneys can take on the legal process for you including:
- Communicating with the insurance company Once you hire an attorney, they will take over all communications with the insurance company. After an injury accident, you should be focused on your recovery, not on dealing with the paperwork and communications with adjusters.
- Gathering evidence for your personal injury claim Personal injury lawyers collect vital evidence that will be used to support your case. This includes interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports, and reviewing photographs.
- Calculating the value of your claim Insurance companies want to settle personal injury claims quickly and for as little as possible. Your attorney will review all evidence and help determine the value of your claim. Remember – the insurance company doesn’t always have your best interests in mind, but your attorney does.
Your Trusted Personal Injury Law Firm in York, Pa.
At Dale E. Anstine Law Firm, we have been representing personal injury victims in the York County and surrounding regions for decades. We know how aggressive insurance adjusters can be when trying to settle a case. Before signing anything, especially a medical release form, contact us for a free consultation.
We’ve helped thousands of accident victims receive the compensation they deserve after an accident. Recovering after an accident is stressful enough, let us take on the burden of your personal injury lawsuit. We are available 24/7 to help and do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Our priority is our clients, and you deserve legal representation who will fight for your rights. Call us at 717-846-0606 or connect with us online.