After being injured in an accident, it won’t be long before you are contacted by a representative of the insurance company. Unfortunately, the insurance adjuster who reaches out to you is not doing so with your best interests in mind. It is, obviously, their job to protect their employer’s interests by making every effort to reduce the company’s liability, minimize payouts, and deny claims wherever possible. If you keep this in mind when you deal with them, you will be in a much better position to protect yourself. Generally speaking, you should never sign any document given to you by an insurance adjuster without first consulting a personal injury attorney. Most insurance documents include language that is specifically worded to come with unintended consequences. Once you sign, you will be held to the terms whether or not you were fully aware of them. For this reason, you need to be clear on what a document is and what it says before you sign it. If you were injured and the insurance company has asked you to sign a medical authorization form, call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Portsmouth personal injury attorney.
What Is the Purpose of a Medical Authorization Form?
After an accident, the liable party’s insurance carrier might ask you to sign a medical authorization form. The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim is going to make it seem as though he needs to see your medical records to determine the scope of your injuries and compensate you accordingly. Once you sign this form, you have given your consent for the insurer to receive your medical records so you should always exercise extreme caution when presented with this option.
Although knowledge of the extent of your injuries is crucial to collecting fair financial compensation after an accident, the at-fault party’s insurance carrier is going to try to pay you the smallest amount possible. Make no mistake, their request for your medical records is not an act of altruism. The insurer is trying to reduce or deny your claim based on the information they contain.
When Can I Sign a Medical Authorization Form?
You should never sign any document the insurance company gives you, including a medical authorization form. Allowing an insurance carrier to have access to your complete medical history will only provide them with opportunities to damage your claim. If an insurance adjuster ever asks you to sign a medical authorization form or any other document, contact a Portsmouth personal injury attorney right away.
A skilled attorney can read through the agreement and tell you what it says. These agreements are purposefully written to be tedious to read and hard to understand because the insurance company does not want you to realize exactly what you are agreeing to. Having an attorney clarify exactly what the consequences of signing the document will be will give you a clear and unbiased idea of your options.
How Can My Medical History Impact My Injury Claim?
The main reason the insurance company is after your medical records is so they can find information they can use to dispute your claim that your injury was the result of your accident. In a personal injury case, it is vital to show that the injury for which you are pursuing compensation was the direct result of the accident for which the defendant is liable. The insurance company is going to use things they find in your medical records to claim that is not the case.
For instance, if you are seeking damages for a back injury you sustained during a traffic accident, and you signed a medical authorization form from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they can now use your medical history to refute your injury by citing any other back problems you have had no matter how minor they may have been or how long ago they occurred.
Can I Restrict What the Insurance Company Sees?
The insurer only needs medical records relevant to your claim. However, instead of limiting their focus to the necessary records, your medical authorization forms will contain broad language that gives them access to the whole of your medical history. Before you sign a medical authorization form given to you by the insurance company, consult with an experienced Portsmouth personal injury attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. They can determine what medical records are relevant to your injury claim and ensure that only those are given to the insurance company.
Do You Need Help Dealing With an Insurance Company?
Personal injury claims can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when an insurance company tries to pressure you into handing over your personal medical records so they can use them against you. The Portsmouth personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been successfully securing compensation for injured clients since 1985.
Pursuing an injury claim without skilled legal representation will put you at a serious disadvantage, especially when an insurance company wants to sign a legally binding document without making its motivations clear. If you need assistance dealing with an insurance company after an accident, call us at (833) 997-1774 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation regarding your claim. We have offices in Portsmouth, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake.