Should I Release My Medical Records to an Insurance Company?
Before you settle any claims for reimbursement of your medical expenses for the treatment of injuries after a car crash or any other accident, the insurance company will want to see your medical records to verify your injuries and the cost of your treatment. Insurers, however, can and will use those records to reduce or deny your claims.
Consider calling a car accident lawyer at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman before you sign any forms to release your medical records. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can review your records and the details of your accident to increase your opportunity to receive the largest available insurance reimbursement for your medical bills and other accident-related costs and expenses.
How Can an Insurance Company Use Your Medical Records Against You?
Federal law imposes strict confidentiality requirements over custodians of medical records because of the sensitive personal information that they contain. You inevitably forfeit a portion of your privacy rights when you give an insurance company access to those records. Even more critically:
- The insurance company will scour your records for past injuries and pre-existing conditions, and then claim that your medical expenses are not entitled to reimbursement because they were for treatment of those injuries or conditions;
- The company can seek to cap your reimbursement only for treatments that are reflected in your records, and preclude any claims for future doctor visits and medical therapy;
- The company might claim that the treatments you received were excessive or were not warranted by your accident-related injuries.
Are You Required to Give All of Your Medical Records to an Insurance Company?
When you are seeking compensation for your medical costs that arose from an auto collision or other accident, you should expect to give the insurer some proof of the treatment you received immediately after the accident, including X-Rays and other diagnostic tests that were conducted and further therapies that were recommended.
You do not have to give the insurer full and free access to all of your medical files.
Moreover, you need to be very careful in any discussions that you might have with the insurance company’s agents and representatives because they will ask questions about your injuries and seek information about your medical condition before the accident.
In every case, you can best protect your interests and your right to recover the largest available insurance reimbursement if you retain a car accident lawyer to handle all negotiations with insurance companies.
Do You Need to Agree to an Independent Medical Examination from the Insurance Company’s Physician?
If your doctor recommends treatments and therapy that will stretch over a long period, an insurance company might ask you to submit to a medical examination by its own physicians to verify your injury claims. This is a common request when an insurer suspects a pre-existing condition or doubts the severity of your doctor’s diagnosis.
You are not obligated to submit to that examination when you are only negotiating your claim with an insurer. If you are unable to resolve your claim and you file a lawsuit for your damages and expenses, the insurance company can then ask the court to order you to submit to the exam. In that event, your lawyer can negotiate to limit that court order and the scope of any medical examination that it might require.
Should You Discuss Your Insurance Reimbursement Claim with Your Doctor?
Your doctor will have little or no professional interest in your insurance company claims. Any mention of your attempts to recover your medical expenses from an insurance company can be added to your records, and potentially used against you during settlement negotiations or at trial.
Your better course of action is to keep your negotiations with an insurance company separate from your discussions with your physician about your injuries and treatments.
A car accident attorney is also better equipped to manage those negotiations and to communicate with your physician about your injuries and claims and the specific records that the insurer can see.
Call the Car Accident Lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer, & Graifman
When you retain a car accident attorney from the law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, you can be sure that the privacy and confidentiality of your medical records will be protected to the fullest extent possible and that insurance companies will not use your records to deny coverage of your medical costs and expenses.
Please call us before you discuss your case with an insurance company representative if you have suffered car accident injuries in Rockland or Bergen Counties, or elsewhere in New York and New Jersey. We will review your medical records and limit any disclosure to the specific records that an insurer might need. We will also fight to recover the largest available compensation for your losses and damages.