You may give an auto insurance company certain medical records as proof of sustaining specific injuries in an auto accident. Your records could accompany the demand letter that you send to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
You should only send medical records that are relevant to your injuries and not your entire medical files. Before submitting your medical records, speak to a car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC. We can offer you legal guidance on how to handle an insurance company’s request for medical records. Allowing an insurance company to have access to all of your medical history may do considerable damage to your injury claim.
The Importance of Medical Records to Insurance Claims
Insurance companies consider the severity and long-term effects of your injuries when calculating the value of your claim. Although insurers consider many other factors, medical records play an important role in deciding how much compensation to pay for a personal injury claim.
Typically, severe injuries, such as a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury, increase the value of a claim. However, insurance claims adjusters look for reasons to deny claims or offer low settlements. And, they can do this by reviewing medical records to minimize the seriousness of a claimant’s injuries.
Insurance companies believe that making decisions on settlement amounts requires adjusters to know the extent and severity of your injuries. Your medical records, which also includes your doctor’s notes, X-rays, CT scans, may also answer specific questions insurance claim adjusters have about your prognosis.
When an Insurance Adjuster Asks to See Your Medical Records
Although the ultimate decision is yours, the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC recommend that you do not allow an adjuster to see all of your medical records, only the documents that are relevant to your injury claim. Ask the adjuster to give you reasons—in writing—why a review of all of your medical records is necessary.
The adjuster wants to find something to justify the insurance company’s reasons for not giving you compensation. So, we recommend that you speak to a lawyer before granting a medical authorization to an insurance company.
Insurance Adjusters Cannot Access Your Medical Records without Permission
No. An insurance adjuster, and even your lawyer, cannot access your medical records without your written permission.
If you decide to give an insurance company access to your records, ask the company to agree—in writing—to pay the costs for having your doctor’s office make copies of the files. If you work with our law firm, we can make this request on your behalf.
When You Should Allow Access to Your Medical Records
There are times when having access to specific medical records can benefit an injury accident claim. For instance, when our car accident lawyers work on cases involving a serious injury, we may ask our clients for permission to view their medical record about this injury. Having information about the injury helps build a substantial personal injury claim.
Depending on the circumstances of an accident and the type of injury our client sustained, we may ask a medical professional to review our client’s medical records to provide an expert opinion about the injury. We may also use the medical records to prove to the at-fault driver and the driver’s insurance company that our client suffered a catastrophic injury and should receive compensation.
If an Adjuster Asks You to Take an Independent Medical Examination
Asking you to take an independent medical exam is a common tactic by an insurance company that questions the severity of your injury. If you agree to an examination, do not be surprised if the independent physician’s conclusions about your injuries are different from your doctor’s opinion about your injuries. A contradictory medical view gives the insurance company reasons to devalue or deny your claim.
If you decide to take an independent medical examination, we can speak with you about how to conduct yourself during the exam. We will also challenge any findings the insurance company’s physician has about your injury that is contrary to your personal doctor’s opinion.
Speaking to a Lawyer about an Insurance Company Accessing Medical Records
If a motor vehicle accident attorney helps you with your injury claim, you would want your lawyer to offer advice on decisions you have to make, including granting an adjuster’s request for medical records. It is important to speak to your lawyer before making decisions so that an adjuster cannot derail your request for compensation.
We Can Help You with Your Injury Claim
If you are concerned that an insurance company’s request for your medical records will jeopardize your personal injury claim, the car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC can help you. Call us at 1-865-546-1111 to schedule a free case review.