If you have been hurt in a car wreck, it is just a matter of time before you will be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance adjuster’s job will be to investigate the accident. The purpose of the investigation is to acquire information that will allow them to pay little or nothing on the claim.
The two main tools in the adjuster’s belt to accomplish this are (1) the recorded statement and (2) access to your medical records. With the recorded statement, the adjuster asks questions about the accident, your injuries, and damage to the vehicle. Often, the questions asked will presuppose facts that damage your case, or unfairly attempt to solicit information that will hurt your case.
Perhaps even more damaging to your case, the adjuster will attempt to acquire your medical records. You will be requested to sign a document called, “Authorization to Access Medical Records,” “Authorization for Release of Medical Records,” “Authorization for Release of Information,” “HIPAA Release,” or something similar.
How does access to your medical records damage your case?
The adjuster will attempt to associate any previous injury or illness to your current injury. For example, if you injured your neck in the car accident, the adjuster may see that you also injurer your neck lifting weights in college and attempt to link the two injuries together. In other words, the car accident did not cause the neck pain, the pain is simply a random flare up of that previous injury.
Second, the adjuster will look to the medical records to determine if there are inconsistencies in the pain. For example, often times, pain or injuries to parts of the body may be described differently from one medical provider to the next. Or, some symptoms are not documented until later visits. The adjuster will utilize these inconsistencies to argue the pain is not related to the car wreck.
You are not obligated to provide to the at-fault driver’s insurance company authorization to view your medical records. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car wreck and you are being asked to sign an Authorization to Access Medical Records, then please, don’t hesitate, call and speak to one of our Atlanta car accident lawyers at today. Our consultations are always free.