When you file a car crash claim in Atlanta, GA, the insurance company typically asks you to provide medical evidence such as medical records. This is the evidence that specifically pertains to your crash-related injuries. However, some insurers will also try to look up your entire medical history in order to come up with unfair objections. This is why it is typically a good idea to consult an Atlanta car accident lawyer when interacting with an insurer.
Why Provide Medical Records?
An insurer has every right to ask you for medical records related to your crash-related injuries. This is because the records show the nature and severity of the injuries. The insurance company uses this evidence to determine whether your injuries were caused by the crash.
The medical records are also used to calculate the amount of damages by considering the nature of injuries, the expected time you will need to fully heal, and the various treatments involved during the recovery phase.
Being a central piece of evidence, medical records are also used to lower the amount of damages or reject a claim altogether. For instance, if your medical records say that your injuries are not severe, yet you claim a significantly large amount of money in lieu of medical costs, the insurer will use the records to dispute your claim. Similarly, if your doctor prescribed you medication but you failed to take it, the insurer can argue that your medical conditions are not crash-related but a result of your own negligence.
Responding to a Medical Records Request
When you file a car crash claim, the insurance company may file a medical records request. Legally, the insurer can’t access your medical records until you sign a release form. However, the insurer will also not process your claim until you do share the relevant records. So the best way to handle a formal request for medical records is to limit its scope.
Some insurance companies will ask you to sign a blank release form so that they may fill up the list of any documents and records they require. You should never sign a blank release form like this. Instead, you must ask the insurer to list the records from specific doctors and hospitals that are needed. If you find that this list contains any unnecessary or irrelevant records, you must ask the insurer to remove these before signing the release form.
To Share or Not to Share
The insurance company is entitled to receive medical records that specifically relate to your crash. These may include medical tests such as X-rays conducted after the crash as well as daily notes from your hospital stay chart. The insurer may also ask to be provided records of the medication and treatments you have undergone, and it is okay to provide these details.
If the insurer further asks to be provided records of your previous injuries or pre-existing medical conditions, you can refuse to do so. Under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), your medical records are private. The insurer can’t access these records without your express permission.
In many cases, an insurer will ask you for your previous, unrelated medical records simply to weaken your claim. For instance, if you have a pre-existing condition and the insurer discovers this through your past medical records, the insurer is likely to lower your compensation amount or reject your claim altogether. This is typically done on the pretext that your pre-existing condition caused the injuries and not the crash.
If you feel that a specific medical records request from the insurer is not fair, you can ask the insurer exactly why the records are needed and how they relate to your car crash claim. If the insurer fails to satisfactorily answer these questions, you can refuse the request without hurting your claim to damages.
How Can an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Help?
When dealing with insurance companies, it is always a good idea to consult a qualified lawyer. A good lawyer will help you negotiate with the insurance company while advising you on which medical records you should share and when to refuse a medical records request.
Here at Ted Greve & Associates, our lawyers work with you through the claims filing and processing stages. We also deal with insurance adjusters and other insurance personnel while ensuring that your rights are protected. Our goal is to help you secure the maximum amount of compensatory damages that you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free session with our lawyers to discuss your Atlanta car crash.