Insurance adjusters typically ask unwary victims of a personal injury to sign medical release forms. This gives them access to complete medical records which are more often than not used to deny or reduce the compensation amount.
By giving the insurance company access to your entire health history, you are increasing the likelihood of them disproving, denying, or reducing your claim. You should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Florida before speaking with the insurance adjusters.
What Does Medical Authorization Do in Florida?
General medical authorization allows a third party to obtain your medical records. All third parties are prevented by HIPAA guidelines from accessing medical information, even if required for insurance purposes. This is why the at-fault driver’s insurance company will require your consent through medical authorization.
The only time you should sign a medical release form without consulting an attorney is when your own insurance company requires it to process your claim and pay your medical bills. Medical release forms can be limited or broad in scope. While you will need to sign the medical authorization, having an experienced attorney read it first will ensure that it only provides access only to the information the insurer needs to process the claim.
Medical History can be Used for Denying or Reducing Your Injury Compensation
Insurance adjusters have a way of connecting previous or pre-existing conditions with any new injury. In this way, your medical history can be used for denying or reducing your claim.
Victims, in most cases, are not required by law to share any medical information from before the accident with the insurance company for the purpose of having their claims settled. Furthermore, insurance companies have been known to peruse medical files to deny a claim.
The at-fault party’s insurance company will use different strategies to obtain your medical records. They may even resort to deceiving you into signing the release by promising an early settlement.
You should have your attorney go through the release forms before allowing the insurance company to access your medical records. Medical records contain extensive information about a patient’s past diagnosis, treatments, and prescriptions. Your personal injury settlement may get significantly reduced or denied completely if the insurance company can connect your injuries to a pre-existing condition.
Incomplete Medical Records May Present the Wrong Picture
Many types of injuries take time to settle in completely. Treatments may seem to work initially but cause the condition to go into remission after a few weeks. It’s also difficult to understand the full extent of injuries and their consequences in a few days. By signing away your medical authorization you may let the insurance company snoop through your records too soon.
The insurers may arrive at a settlement amount before the doctors have a chance to document the complete extent of your injuries and the right type of treatment required. This makes it necessary to wait for a few weeks at least before providing access to your medical information.
It’s a good thing to be proactive when filing a claim. Taking this into account, you should wait and allow your attorneys to decide when to sign the medical release.
You may cause inadvertent disputes to arise by letting the insurance provider access your medical information too soon. Medical authorization forms give access to confidential information as well. This can be used by the insurance company to lower the compensation amount.
For instance, an insurance adjuster could deny the pain and suffering component of the injury claim by claiming the bulk of injuries to have been pre-existing.
How can a Qualified Personal Injury Lawyer Protect Your Interests?
When you retain the services of a personal injury attorney, they deal with all communications from the insurance company. The attorney will vet any request that comes from the insurance adjuster.
An experienced attorney has the legal acumen and expertise to allow only those requests that seem reasonable and won’t reduce your settlement amount. If the insurance company tries to contact you directly, you should forward your attorney’s contact information and ask them to contact your attorney directly.
Your attorney will give the insurance company access to any records that are truly required for the settlement of your injury claim. They will also protect your best interests and prevent the insurer from taking advantage of you.
Legal Help is Here from Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in Florida
If you were injured because of the reckless actions of someone else, the skilled attorneys at Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, PA can help you seek justice and obtain maximum compensation. Our attorneys will provide you with the personalized attention you deserve.
We have helped numerous clients secure large settlements and verdicts by preparing solid legal claims and taking on powerful insurance companies and defendants. To request your free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 850-434-5395 or complete this online form.