Can My Medical Records Hurt My Accident Claim?
When you are injured in a personal injury accident, your medical records will become a very important piece of evidence in your accident claim. Regardless of whether you are hurt in a traffic accident or slip and fall or the injury was caused by a defective product, you will need to submit medical records to the insurance company to substantiate your injury claim. However, you must be very careful when submitting your medical records because your records could contain red flags that could impact the amount of compensation you receive for your claim.
Medical Release Forms
The insurance adjuster for the other party may contact you to request that you sign a medical release form. The problem with signing a medical release form for the insurance adjuster is that you may be giving the company access to your entire medical history and this is what it wants. This tactic is used by many insurance companies to check your records for “red flags.” The insurance company wants to use red flags to deny your claim or decrease the amount of money it must pay to settle your claim.
Examples of Red Flags
Red flags can be prior accidents in which you were injured or other pre-existing injuries that the insurance company can use to claim your injury was not sustained in this accident. Degenerative changes are another red flag the company could use to claim that your injury was pre-existing and not caused by the accident.
After the injury, any gaps in medical treatment are a red flag because the insurance company can argue that your failure to follow up or failure to seek further treatment is the cause for the severity of your injury. Another red flag is comments you make to medical personnel that they note in your record. Just the innocent mention of something unrelated to your accident injury could derail your accident claim.
How Can an Attorney Help?
An attorney will review your medical records to look for potential red flags so those issues can be addressed before the records are released to the insurance company. Furthermore, an attorney forwards only those medical records pertinent to your accident to the insurance company. In most cases, there is no need for the company to have access to your entire medical history. This is one reason the company wants to have you sign the release before you can consult with an attorney. If it can get copies of your medical records before an attorney is involved, it can potentially use the information in the records to fight your claim.
Call an Erie Personal Injury Attorney Now
Before you sign any documents or releases or you provide a statement to the insurance company, consult with our attorney. We want to help you recover full compensation for all damages. We will protect your best interest and fight for your legal rights.
For a free legal consultation with one of our Erie personal injury attorneys, call The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066.