Can a Car Insurance Company Request My Medical Records?
While a car insurance company can request your medical records after an accident, and almost certainly will make such a request, you do not have to grant access. However, failure to allow the insurance company to view your records will harm your accident claim.
If you were injured in a car accident because of another driver’s negligence or recklessness, do not respond to an insurance company’s request for your medical records before consulting a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney at Chaffin Luhana. Our dedicated attorneys will guide you through the process and protect your rights.
Under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, better known as HIPPA, the privacy of patients’ medical records is protected. The patient must provide consent before such records are released to any party.
However, if filing a personal injury claim after a car accident, the patient must authorize the release of relevant records, because otherwise there is no way to validate the extent of the injuries or the types of treatment the patient has undergone.
When signing a release for your medical records for the insurance company, it is critical to ensure that only information relating to the motor vehicle accident is made available. Do not sign a release permitting access to your entire medical history.
There are legitimate reasons for the insurance company to verify your medical records. The insurer must compare the medical bills submitted for your claim to the specific injuries occurring in the accident.
If you have submitted medical records relating to the accident to the insurance company, it is possible that certain records are missing. These are common omissions, and there is no reason not to submit a missing X-ray or lab report if it is pertinent.
Medical release considerations
Keep in mind that the insurance company is seeking some way to undermine your claim, and that generally involves trying to obtain information regarding pre-existing medical conditions.
For example, if you suffered a serious back injury in the accident, but have a prior history of back issues dating back several years, the insurer may allege the injury is not new but stems from the previous problem.
That is why your lawyer will limit the scope of the information permitted under the medical release authorization. Ways to limit the information released may involve permitting only records relating to certain dates released, as they pertain to the accident, while earlier records do not.
Other options include allowing only the release of records from healthcare providers who treated the patient for accident-related injuries. These may include:
- Physical therapists
The insurance company may request access to certain records that you find questionable. If this occurs, you can ask the representative why this request is being made and refer the answer to your attorney before making a decision.
Independent medical examinations
In some situations, that car accident victim must undergo an independent medical examination. The patient’s automobile insurance may require such an exam, or it is possible a court will order it.
The term “independent” is a misnomer, as the doctor is working for the defendant or their insurance company. The physician will likely try to find reasons that your injuries are not as serious as claimed.
Conducted by an independent physician chosen either by the insurance company or the defendant, this exam is performed to confirm that the injury was caused by the car accident and that it is as severe as the plaintiff alleges in his or her claim.
Expect the doctor not only to conduct an examination but to ask specific questions regarding the accident and exactly what kind of treatment was received, as well as any current physical or mental limitations you may have. Always answer such questions honestly, and do not exaggerate.
Contact a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer
If you were involved in a car accident and the insurance company makes a medical records release request, an experienced Pittsburgh Car Accident Attorney at Chaffin Luhana will review the request and determine how best to proceed. Arrange a free consultation by calling 24/7.
We can help you obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries. Since we work on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless we win.