A key factor in a personal injury claim that contributes to the success of your case is through medical records. It is very important to document your injuries and your recovery. Medical records are crucial to the outcome of a personal injury claim. Therefore, getting medical records is an important step in the process of investigating a claim, prepare a demand for settlement, and preparing for a trial.
Insurance companies review medical records extremely carefully when evaluating your claim. It is important that you follow your doctor’s orders for a treatment plan and do not miss appointments during your recovery. Our team of legal professionals and your attorney works with you to ensure that we have copies of all relevant medical records for your claim. We discuss getting medical records for your claim with you at the beginning of your case and continue to work with you until you have completed medical treatment.
Your Right to Medical Records
HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) protects your right to privacy of your medical records and personal health information. The Act limits who can have access to your medical records and personal health information and history without your prior consent.
It also sets forth the steps that you need to take to request copies of your health records and what records might be excluded from the copies you receive. For example, your doctor can charge a fee for the time and cost of copying your medical records for you. It also allows for a reasonable time for medical providers to respond to requests for medical records.
Your attorney and an insurance company may only access your medical records with your consent. Therefore, when you retain our law firm to represent you in your personal injury case, we will have you sign an authorization for our office to obtain copies of your medical records pertaining to the accident. We will need copies of all medical records related to the accident to use in your claim as evidence of damages.
If you have had a prior accident, injury, or medical condition, you need to inform our office immediately. We must obtain copies of those records too so that we can determine if the other party might try to use a prior injury or accident to deny your current claim. It is always best to get in front of issues such as this to be proactive instead of reacting after learning about the issue from the insurance company or its attorney.
Should I Sign a Release from the Insurance Company?
An insurance adjuster may tell you that he will be getting medical records to verify your injuries. He will ask you to sign a medical release or authorization to obtain copies of your records. Our Indiana personal injury attorneys do not advise you to sign a release until you have met with our office. Signing a release for an insurance adjuster could potentially harm your case.
Most insurance adjusters give accident cases “blanket” medical release forms to sign. These forms do not specify the medical provider, nor the dates of treatment. If you are not careful in reading the document and ensuring that all blanks are completed correctly, the insurance company could request copies of your entire medical history. Again, the insurance company wants to find information it can use to mitigate or lower its risk for your claim. If it can find information in your medical history about a prior injury, accident, or medical condition, the company might try to use this to deny or devalue your current injury claim.
It is better to let our lawyers work on the task of getting medical records for you. We will put together only the records that apply to this injury for the insurance company. Our attorneys will not hide anything from the insurance company, but we will not provide them copies of records that are not related to your claim for the adjusters to comb through looking for invalid reasons to deny or delay your claim.
Let Us Help You When You are Getting Medical Records
When you are injured in an accident, the experience can be overwhelming. There are so many details and tasks that you must take care of as you try to heal from your injuries. It helps to have an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney taking care of the items that you should not need to worry about during your recovery. Your focus should be on your recovery.
We want to help you by taking everything we can off your to-do list for this injury claim so that you can rest and heal. Contact The Ken Nunn Law Office now through the Live Chat feature on our website. You may also reach our office by calling 1-800-CALL-KEN or 1-800-225-5536 for a free legal consultation.