You may file a personal injury compensation claim if you were injured in a trucking accident because of the fault of another party. The settlement amount will help you pay for medical bills, cover lost wages, and compensate for your pain and suffering, among other damages and losses. However, before the claim is settled there are several decisions that need to be made. The insurance adjuster is not going to make the claim process easy for you. They will make several requests that may seem reasonable at face value, but may be designed to dilute or deny your claim.
The adjuster may ask you to sign a medical authorization that allows for the release of medical records to the insurance company.
What is a Medical Release?
Medical release is a document authorizing an insurance company to directly obtain medical records from the health care providers. You should know that this is a blanket waiver which gives insurance companies the permission to access all your medical records. And, they will not stay limited to the records that pertain to the injury in question. They will try and access all records to deny or reduce the liability claim.
Medical Authorization Under HIPAA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides individuals with the right to keep their mental and physical health records private. To access your medical records, the insurance company or even another doctor will need to obtain a written permission from you.
Signing a Medical Authorization is a Bad Idea
Insurance adjusters make use of a wide array of reasons to coax a claimant to sign the medical release. They may say that it is necessary for them to verify your injuries and settle the claim. It is a fact that the insurance adjuster needs your medical information and any bills pertaining to the injuries to settle the claim. However, you don’t really need to provide complete or unlimited access for that.
These are a few reasons why signing a medical release is a bad idea:
- Claim dispute
When you give the insurance company medical authorization, you are unwittingly giving them ammunition to dispute your claim. The insurance adjuster wants to take a look at medical information for reducing or denying the claim. They may state your injuries are from prior accidents or pre-existing conditions. They may use the records to prove that your injuries are not because of your accident. You don’t need to allow this invasion of privacy to have your personal injury claim settled.
- Incomplete records
You and the attending physician may not realize the entirety of the injuries if you sign away the medical release too soon following the truck accident. The records will have an incomplete prognosis and treatment plan. You should wait until you have complete medical information before you settle the claim. It is important to realize the full extent of potential recovery and injuries.
- Weaken the claim
The most important reason to not give an insurance company blanket authorization is that it increases the likelihood of a claims dispute. It may take longer to settle as well. You may need to accept less than fair compensation.
Medical Authorization is not Needed for Proving Injuries
Often, insurance adjusters give the impression that a medical authorization is required for receiving reimbursement for medical bills following a truck accident. This is effectively a lie based on the truth. The insurance company does need to see the bills, but not the entire medical file.
You need to show the following for a successful claim:
- That an injury occurred
- That the injury was because of the truck accident
- That the named defendants are to be blamed for the incident
- Specific monetary value of the claim
You would need the medical records for proving one or more of these elements. However, an experienced attorney would recommend taking a more focused approach instead of granting a blanket authorization. Wait till you consult with a skilled attorney if an insurance adjuster approaches you to sign a medical release.
You may end up waiving vital legal rights or make mistakes that weaken the case. The attorney you hire will take over all communications with the insurance carrier and any other necessary party. They will gather vital evidence for proving liability for the personal injury. They will also provide the insurance adjuster with all necessary bills and medical records.
You should consider working with a personal injury attorney since they can accurately value a personal injury claim based on prior experience. You may end up settling for way less than you deserve if you decide to wing it alone. Proper negotiations led by a capable attorney allows for adequate financial and physical recovery.
Talk to a Seasoned Truck Accident Injury Attorney Today
The dedicated and capable personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp can help you file a successful claim and obtain maximum possible compensation for your injuries and losses in a truck accident. Call us today at 800-752-0042 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.