If you find yourself the victim of a negligent driver, you likely are also involved in dealing with that motorist’s automobile insurance company. The insurance company may be trying to schedule a time to take a statement from you. The insurer may have indicated that it has papers for you to sign. Included on the list of requests from the insurance company very likely is one asking you to sign a release for medical records.
When the other motorist’s insurance company asks for you to sign a release for your medical records, your immediate reaction may be like that experienced by many other people in your shoes: “No big deal.”
The reality is that any time you sign a legal document, it is a big deal, including one that permits an automobile insurance company the ability to get its hands on your medical records. Of course, ultimately an insurance company has the right to obtain certain medical records associated with the injuries you actually received in a car accident and the type of treatments you receive. However, an automobile insurance company is not entitled to all records relating to your medical care. For example, an insurer has no legal right to obtain billing statements associated with your care and treatment.
With that said, if you sign a standard medical release in favor of an insurance company, the insurer is able to obtain a full array of records from you, including billing statements. The reality is that billing statements provide an insurance company not only the amount that was billed for a particular procedure or treatment, but it includes information on the reduction of that amount as part of the overall medical billing process. Armed with this information, to which the insurance company was not entitled in the first instance but which was voluntarily provided via a signed release, the insurance company will have documentation in its hands that permits it to lowball the amount it agrees to pay in regard to the portion of your claim dealing with medical expenses.
This scenario not only underscores the need for you to read any document closely before you sign it, it further underscores the reality that your interests are best served if you retain the services of a qualified and experienced automobile accident attorney. The legal team at Harding & Associates is experienced in dealing with all aspects of an automobile accident claim, including dealing with insurance companies and pursuing lawsuits when that becomes necessary.