At some point following your injury accident you will likely be contacted by the insurance claims adjuster for the negligent at-fault party. You will likely receive a letter that will be introductory in nature and will tell you that he/she is committed to resolving your claim in a prompt and fair manner. They will also enclose a medical records release for your signature.
A medical records release is a document that authorizes your doctors and other health care professionals to share your private health records with the insurance claims adjuster. Without a signed medical records release your doctors cannot share your medical history with anyone for any reason. The release that you will be asked to sign will waive your HIPAA privacy rules. For more information on your HIPAA privacy rights, click here.
Once you sign a medical records release, the insurance claims adjuster may have access to all of your medical records including those that predate your injury accident. They will tell you that they need to obtain these records so that they may promptly and fairly evaluate your claim. In reality, they want you to sign a medical release so they can comb through all of your past medical records to see if they can mount a strategy to de-value your claim.
You have a right to privacy when it comes to your medical records and history. However, if you are going to pursue a claim for personal injury then the liability claims adjuster has a right to see some of your prior medical records. However, they do not have a right to rifle through all of your past medical records. They are only entitled to those records that may be pertinent to the injuries you claim to have sustained in the accident giving rise to the claim. For instance, if you are claiming a neck injury now, they have a right to see any of your prior medical records that refer to any examinations, treatment or diagnostic tests for neck pain.
If you want to cooperate with the adjuster and give them the information necessary to try and resolve the claim without having to involve an attorney, you will probably need to sign a medical release.
The better option is to not sign a medical release for a liability claims adjuster until you have consulted with an experienced personal injury attorney – like the attorneys at Pentlarge Law Group. We know how insurance companies treat injured Alaskans and we know how to make them treat you fairly.