When you are involved in a vehicle accident, you will be sent a slew of documents to look over and sign, one of which will be a medical authorization form giving the insurance company permission to access your medical records. Although the insurance company will position the request as verifying your injuries, whether you should sign it or not will depend on who sent the form.
Requests from the Liable Party's Insurance Provider
Generally, you absolutely do not want to permit the liable driver's insurance company to view your medical records for the simple reason the company is not doing so to help you. Rather, the adjuster will use the information contained in your medical file to justify paying you less or denying your claim for reimbursement for medical expenses altogether.
This is because the company will not limit itself to simply viewing the notes and records associated with injuries you sustained from the crash. The adjuster will sift through all the information contained in the file, including doctor's notes and even prescriptions. As a result of this investigation, the insurance company may claim you had preexisting injuries or medical circumstances that contributed to the accident or your current medical problems and pay you less.
The liable party does not need access to your medical records to confirm your injuries. They can make do with the doctor's reports, receipts, and other relevant paperwork you send the adjuster directly. If the company claims it can't pay you unless you sign the medical release, contact an attorney who will set the company straight.
Requests from Your Auto Insurance Company
On the other hand, you are required to sign a medical release sent to you by your own auto insurance company. This is because there's typically a clause in your insurance policy stating you will do whenever the company has to pay you money from your personal injury protection coverage. In this case, the insurance provider can withhold payment until you send in the forms.
That doesn't mean, though, that you have to allow the company full access to your file. Although the insurance company is working for you, it is still serving its own interests and may also use the information in your file to limit or deny your benefits. Be careful to only authorize the company to access files beginning on the date the accident occurred to reduce the risk the company may find something to use against you.
For help in settling with the insurance company or litigating an auto accident claim, contact a group such as Alexander Law Group.