Why You Need to Be Cautious About Releasing Medical Records for Your Auto Accident Claim

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on February 28, 2023 and updated on March 17, 2023.

ipad and paper medical recordsCrash victims are going to need to disclose some of their medical records to prove the existence of an injury and its severity. Medical records also help to prove the victim is undergoing treatment.

If you try to manage your car accident claim on your own, the car insurance company is going to try to obtain more records than they need. They may ask you to sign a medical records release that allows them to have access to all your medical records.

They want this level of access so they can find something they may be able to use against you, such as a preexisting medical condition. If they discover a preexisting medical issue, they are going to try to claim that is the source of your health problems, not an injury you suffered in the crash.

This is just one of many reasons why crash victims should strongly consider finding an experienced lawyer to represent them. At The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, we have been assisting crash victims in Maryland for decades. We are prepared to handle the disclosure of medical records on your behalf, protecting your privacy and making sure to provide the medical evidence to prove your case.

Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices. Free consultation. Call 410-401-9979.

Releasing Medical Records for a Car Crash Claim

You only need to provide medical records related to the injury you suffered in the car crash. It is possible the car crash aggravated a preexisting injury and if that is the case, your lawyer may also want to disclose records of your existing injury. The purpose of disclosing these records is to show how your condition got worse after the crash.

It can be difficult to try to determine what records to release without consulting an attorney. If you disclose too much, the insurance company could find something to attack your credibility or even question the existence of your injury. Victims may be surprised at what insurance companies may use against them.

There is no need to be in a rush to get medical records to the insurance company. If you hire an experienced Maryland vehicle accident attorney, he or she can determine what records need to be released and get them to the insurance company in an efficient manner.

Often, insurance companies request more records after reviewing the records that were included with the settlement demand letter. Insurers are simply fishing for information and the records they ask for are often unrelated to the accident. This is why it is often best to allow your lawyer to determine how to respond to these requests.

Dangers of Signing a Medical Release Form From the Insurance Company

Insurance companies often contact crash victims soon after the accident to ask them to sign a blanket medical release. If you sign such a document, they can access all your medical records.

You do not need to sign anything so early in the process, whether it is a medical release form or anything else. Insurance companies want to rush you into signing things so they can resolve the claim for much less than it may be worth.

Disclosing all the medical records the insurance company is asking for could seriously damage your claim. The insurance company could find evidence of an existing medical problem and say you did not suffer an injury in the crash.

Your records contain a lot of information that may damage your credibility, such as records of:

  • Surgeries
  • Immunizations
  • Medications
  • Chronic medical problems

If you have questions about what the insurance company is asking for, you have the option of contacting an experienced attorney for assistance.

Laws on Privacy of Medical Records

You have control over access to your medical records, thanks to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). With rare exceptions, other parties cannot obtain these records unless you give consent. While the insurance company is going to need some of your records to process your claim, releasing those records is ultimately up to you.

It is also important to note that your records are still confidential when they are released to your attorney. Your attorney is bound by a legal principle called attorney-client privilege, which means he or she cannot share private conversations about your case with others.

HIPAA allows you to obtain medical records for your child or an adult who you legally represent. If you were appointed to represent a deceased individual’s estate, you can also obtain that individual’s medical records. These exceptions may be important if your child or another loved one was injured or killed in a collision.

When Could You Be Forced to Release Medical Records?

While many car accident cases are settled, some do make it to the courtroom. During trial preparations, a court may be able to compel you to disclose medical records to the insurance company as part of the discovery process.

All that said, your lawyer can object to a request for medical records. Insurers often ask for irrelevant medical records and your lawyer can prevent the disclosure of these records.

What if You Have Already Disclosed Too Much?

Even if you have given the insurance company full access to all your medical records, your lawyer may still be able to obtain fair compensation for your damages. Our experienced attorneys know how to dispute claims about preexisting injuries.

It is vital to remember that those with preexisting injuries can still recover compensation for a car crash injury. Your lawyer needs to provide evidence of a new injury suffered in the crash and explain how you did not have this injury beforehand.

Your injury may have gotten worse because of the car crash and you can obtain compensation for damages caused by a worsening of your condition.

Need Help Proving Your Car Crash Injury? Call Today

At our firm, there are no upfront fees for our services. The initial legal consultation is free and comes with no obligation to take legal action. If you decide to hire our firm, there are no fees while we work on your case.

We are ready for your call. Phone: 410-401-9979.