Personal injuries often lead to claims for compensation. Insurance companies often request the medical records of victims as part of the proceedings. While this is not uncommon, there are serious factors to consider before signing a medical records release form.
What Exactly Is a Medical Authorization Release Form?
A medical authorization release form is a form that provides insurance companies with the authority to delve into your medical records. After receiving a claim, insurance companies must review the injuries outlined in the claim to come to their own valuation.
Without a medical authorization release form, it is near impossible for an insurance company to determine how much money they must pay for a claim. Although the victim will have a figure in mind, the insurance company must do its own calculations.
Your medical records help adjusters and your personal injury lawyer calculate how much money you should get. Typically, payouts for injuries include all medical care and treatment related to your injuries, such as:
- Doctor visits
- Emergency room visits
- Hospital stays
- Physical rehab and therapy
- Future medical care and treatment
Victims’ medical records allow adjusters to verify the cause and source of victims’ injuries as well. Without these records, there would be no real way to prove the source and extent of an injury.
Problems with Signing Medical Release Forms
The main issue with medical release forms is that they give insurance companies deep access to your medical history. And adjusters are interested in one thing: paying as little as possible to settle claims. Hence, they will search for any piece of information that will allow them to do so.
One of the first things that adjusters will look for in your records is a prior injury. Pre-existing injuries are injuries that pre-date the injuries a victim suffers in an accident. If an adjuster can find a prior injury in your medical history, it can potentially argue that it and not the current incident is responsible for your pain and losses.
The thing is that the existence of a condition or injury should not lead to a denial or a reduction of your claim. But insurance company adjusters are experts at arguing that pre-existing injuries should reduce a victim’s claim or lead to a denial.
Consider a person who is claiming money from a knee injury suffered in a car crash. When the insurance company gets the demand for compensation, it will review the victim’s medical history for knee injuries. If it finds one, it may be able to argue that the prior injury is to blame for the losses.
For this reason, any person who has suffered an injury and is seeking justice should contact a lawyer. Victims without lawyers get paid far less than those who have hired help. Additionally, injury lawyers take cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means they don’t get paid unless they win. It also means that there are no charges up front to start your case.
Scope of Authorization
When it comes to allowing for the release of medical information, the victim is always in charge. However, once they sign over access to their medical history, the insurance company is free to review the entirety of a person’s medical treatment history. Unless, of course, the victim limits the access.
In general, there are a few different types of information in your medical records that insurance companies like to get their hands on. They include:
Prior Medical History
These records will contain the sickness and injury history of a victim, including presentation, diagnosis, and treatment information.
Doctor’s notes contain key pieces of information relating to past reasons for presentation and treatment. Insurance companies love to pore over these notes for any statements or information that allows them to reduce or deny a victim’s current claim.
Frequency of Past Visits to the Doctor
The number of times you have visited the doctor or other healthcare professional in the past can work against your claim. If you have a history of frequently visiting the doctor, the insurance company can potentially label you as an “eggshell client.” An eggshell client is a person who is in poor health, fragile, and more susceptible to injuries than average people.
In most cases, there really is no way around signing medical release forms. If you are seeking payback for injuries, you will have to sign some type of medical authorization release form sooner or later.
However, you can limit the scope of the insurance company’s authority to review your records. Instead of giving the company blanket authorization, you can choose to only release facts relating to the current accident in question.
How to Proceed if You Receive a Medical Release Form
If you receive a medical authorization release form, it is important to realize the importance of this document. Signing a blanket authorization can give an insurance company complete access to your entire medical history and threaten your claim.
Instead of signing the form, contact an injury attorney instead. An attorney will work hard to protect your interests and prevent you from signing away more access than you have to. They will review your case and taper the authorization of the release form to include only information directly pertinent to your current claim.
Your attorney will also protect your interests with other release forms, such as releases of all claims and liabilities.
Speak with an Injury Lawyer Today
Do you have questions about a medical release form you signed or have been sent? If so, please reach out to the Joel Bieber Firm for answers and help. Your rights are important to us, and we are here to assist you. Contact us today for a free case review.