December 19, 2017

Should I sign a medical release for the insurance adjuster?

When processing your insurance claim, your claim adjuster will require all sorts of information – any police reports, statements, witness interviews, medical information, etc. If your adjuster requests you provide them with a medical release authorization, you may feel uncomfortable doing so, and you also may feel uncomfortable denying your adjuster that information. Therefore, it’s important you understand what you absolutely need to do, and what may hurt you in the end. Should I sign a medical release for the insurance adjuster?

How a medical release may hurt you

In general, when you talk to your insurance adjuster, you should be very careful about what information you provide. Offering too much seemingly innocent information could provide your insurance company with what it needs to deny certain aspects of your claim. Providing authorization to view your entire medical history may do the same.

While your insurance adjuster is determining the extent of your physical injuries, they may request that you sign a medical release form. You do not have to provide this, and you likely shouldn’t. When you sign a medical release form, you authorize your insurance company to request any medical information they want. Again, while this may seem innocent, your insurance company is in this for themselves; they may be looking for past records that can be used to explain your injuries.

For example, if you’ve been to a doctor for back pain, and are currently claiming a back injury relating to your claim, they may refuse to pay for any medical expenses based on the fact that your back injury may have been a preexisting condition, and not caused by your accident.

Your other options

However, it is completely reasonable for your insurance adjuster to require medical records to consider your settlement amount. In this case, do not sign a medical release form, and instead request your documentation yourself. Ask your adjuster that they pay any fees that your doctors may charge for copies of your notes, and make sure you get their statement in writing. Then, you may communicate with your doctor to make sure they explain your issues in a way that maximizes your settlement amount.

This point is important, because a doctor’s medical notes are for their own benefit, not necessarily for yours. This means that unless you ask your doctor for the specific information you need to get the settlement you deserve from your insurance company, you likely won’t get it.

For example, if you are unable to work for a period of time due to injuries, while your doctor will inform you, that information might not make it onto your medical notes unless you make a point to ask for it. If that information isn’t sent to your insurance company, they have no reason to provide financial compensation for the time you’ll need to stay at home. Further, if the medical notes you provide to your insurance do not say this, but then you resubmit similar notes that do state this information, your insurance company may claim that the disparity is simply not true.

Remember: above all else, you are not obligated to share medical information. Providing documentation of an injury related to your claim will benefit you, and any other unrelated information might hurt you. It’s in your best interest to be aware of what your doctor is telling your insurance company. Always look over any documentation before reporting it back to your adjuster.

When you need legal representation

Should I sign a medical release for the insurance adjuster? The answer is generally no. However, if your insurance adjuster or your insurance company is harassing you to consent to sharing your medical history with them, it’s time to contact an attorney. Contact Corless Barfield for a free consultation.