If you are asserting a personal injury claim, your medical treatment and information regarding your recovery are going to be very important to your case. The doctor’s records about your care are perhaps the most important evidence of your treatment and potential long-term health effects of an accident.
If these files did not exist, the insurance company would have to just “take your word for it.” Instead, medical records provide summaries of details regarding the accident, follow up care, and medically supported opinions about your prospective recovery. Because of their value to your case, it easy to see why your insurance adjuster may want a copy of these records to review. Should you be concerned about sharing this information?
In many situations, you will want the insurance adjuster to see your medical records because that information explains in great detail all of your complaints and problems that may have been related to the accident. These files are a good way to corroborate your claims. However, medical records can also be troubling in some situations because they show all of your prior health complaints as well.
For example, imagine that you were in a car accident and severely damaged your knee. You had to have a complete knee replacement surgery after the crash. However, your medical records indicate that you also had some problems with your knee before the accident as well. Based on this information, the insurance company may try to argue that you would have had to have the knee surgery regardless or that the accident really did not cause your knee problems because you already had knee issues before the crash. You can see how simple information can be morphed into something that the insurance company may try to use against you.
If you think the adjuster’s request to see your medical records
In some situations, adjusters may have less-than-honorable reasons for wanting to review your medical records, such as twisting old injuries or embarrassing you. If you think that is the only reason the adjuster wants your records, you are under no obligation to share before a legal case is filed. However, once you file a lawsuit, the rules change, and you will likely have to produce all of the records that they request at some point during the litigation.
When you first assert a claim, it is standard practice for the insurance company to send you an authorization so they can begin to collect information regarding the case. These authorizations often contain blanket permission to obtain medical records. If you are concerned about sharing your medical records, read the document carefully before you sign. Do not sign it if you do not want to share all of your medical records.
When adjusters start digging further into your case, it may be time to call