Car Wreck: Should you sign a medical release form given to you by the other insurance company?
You are hit by another person who is insured by Allstate, State Farm, Geico, etc.
The insurance adjuster from the other person’s insurance company approaches you and says, “Here’s a little form I need you to fill out. It will just let us get your medical records so then we can give you a fair settlement.”
Should you sign it?
I would be very hesitant to sign that.
I have been representing people who have been injured for 25 years.
What I have found, and it has been pretty consistent, is those “medical releases” are way overboard.
They allow the insurance company to get any medical records.
If you are making an injury claim and you want compensation, then your medical history is at issue.
Here’s why this is a problem:
Let’s say somebody comes along and they hit you with their driver’s door and they break your left arm.
Then it makes sense that medical records related to your arm would be fair game.
But why would the insurance company want to get medical records about a broken foot I had 20 years ago?
Why would they want medical records related to therapy or counseling or other things I had 5 years ago? Or even 10 years ago?
The reason they do this is that they want to cast a very broad net.
They want to look at all of your medical records because maybe there is something in there somewhere that will hurt you.
Maybe an old medical record about you having pain in your arm.
Here’s a more common example – my back hurts and your doctor says that you must have surgery on it after this wreck.
But 12 years ago, they found some reference to a medical record for my back.
They can use this against me.
Maybe they can trick me into saying, “Oh yeah, my back has never hurt before this.”
Well, what I meant to say is that I’ve never had a serious problem with my back. Everybody’s back has hurt them at some point.
So, they’ll take this statement and use it to hurt you by saying, “So you swore under oath that your back has never hurt you, not one day in your entire life?”
Well, that is not what I meant when I said my back hasn’t hurt, but now they’ve made me out to be a liar in court.
These requests for records are really broad in terms of time.
They are also really broad in terms of mental health, counseling, therapy, etc. – things they normally would not be able to access.
But if you sign that release, it will stay on file and they can access all of these records.
They don’t really have the right to get this.
You want to control that information.
My suggestion is to be very hesitant to sign the release form.
You can go get your own medical records and give those to them.
If you hire a lawyer, your lawyer can help you get the records.
Your lawyer can tell them what they are entitled to have.
There is a whole strategy for how we deal with medical records to make sure they can’t claim you were lying about your previous history, which we will talk about in other posts.
We typically try to minimize the chance of them being able to make this claim.
You should be very hesitant about giving that other insurance company carte blanche authority to get any and all of your medical records because this can really hurt you.
If you live in Alabama and you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.
We would be glad to help you in any way we can.
You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you quickly.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!
P.S. If you are interested in more information about car wrecks & personal injury claims, check out some of our other articles below:
- Car Wreck: Should you post on social media after a car wreck?
- I’ve been in a car wreck: Should I speak to the other side’s insurance adjuster? (Be careful!)
- In my Alabama car wreck case, will the jury know the defendant has car insurance?
- What Should I do if I’ve been injured in a Car Wreck? Part I, The Wreck.
- What Should I Do If I’ve Been injured In A Car Wreck? Part II, The Treatment.
- What Should I do if I’ve been injured in a Car Wreck? Part III, What to expect if you have to file a lawsuit.