Signing a Medical Release After an Accident: What You Need to Know

Medical recordsAfter a car accident, it’s possible for injury victims to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver for their medical care, lost wages, and more. These personal injury cases are based on just what they say—injuries. So, it seems natural that the attorney and insurance company for the negligent driver would want proof that injuries exist and details about their severity. To that end, they are likely to ask injury victims to sign a medical release, which would allow all parties access to notes from doctors and other medical providers about injuries, diagnoses, and more. Before you sign that release, however, there are some important facts to keep in mind.

 How Much Information Must Injury Victims Release?

Alaska law acknowledges that defendants in personal injury cases have a right to see medical record proof that the victim did, in fact, sustain injuries in the accident. This does not give them the freedom, however, to demand all records. Victims are required to provide access to the records that pertain to injuries sustained in the accident. The law states that any records related to the physical, mental, or emotional condition of the patient relevant to the condition in issue should be shared.

Why Insurance Companies Really Want Medical Records

Insurance companies will pressure victims soon after the accident to sign a blanket medical release, allowing them access to any and all medical records of the injury victim. If an injury victim signs such a release, they can be sure that the insurance company will examine every injury and illness ever treated—even those that have no relation to the injuries sustained in the accident. Why would they do this? They’ll be looking for a few key ways to undermine your claim, including:

  • Past injuries. A negligent driver would not be responsible for pre-existing conditions, and insurance companies will attempt to claim that the victims has not really suffered any new injuries because of the accident.
  • Statements to your doctor inconsistent with other claims. Insurance companies will compare every statement made about the accident and injuries, looking for any time the injury victim described the situation in different terms.
  • Frequency of past medical visits. Even if an injury victim visited a medical provider for legitimate injuries and illnesses, insurance companies will view frequent visits as proof that the victim was in poor health before the accident and thus not entitled to full compensation.

Protect Your Rights With Help From an Experienced Attorney

Don’t sign any release until you have consulted an experienced attorney. Anchorage injury lawyer Ben Crittenden has helped many individuals determine what is necessary to share and has kept unnecessary information away from prying insurance companies. After an accident, victims have the right to proper medical care and reimbursement for lost wages. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, don’t let an insurance company pressure you. Call Ben today or fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about he may be able to help.

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