I have a Workman's Comp case with my employer, should I sign to authorize the release of prior medical information?

Asked about 2 years ago - Stockton, CA

I'm off work and scheduled for surgery. I received an authorization for release of information from the Claims Examiner handling the case. I then noticed the my rights disclosure on the bottom of the page. ( HIPPA compliant). In the text of the letter it also stated that failure to return this form may jeopardize my rights to obtain Worker's Compensation benefits. Is this a way to deny or lessen any future settlement that I may be due if there was a pre-condition such as arthritis in the knee that was injured? Also, if I don't sign it, will it have an affect on any rating and subsequent financial settlement. Since I'm already scheduled for surgery and approved treatment should I go ahead and sign it and mail it in?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Nancy J Wallace

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you're going to have your medical history examined any way, so you can sign the release.

    Technically, the adjuster can get those records without the release once you request Workers Comp benefits with the Workers Compensation Claim Form DWC Form 1 (creates 'juristdiction, so they can subpena your records).

    BUT!!! tHE ADJUSTER CAN DENY THE CLAIM for failure to cooperate in discovery if you refuse to sign the release.

    If you have really private stuff and you can't handle the thought of having your medical records subpaned and reviewed, you can't request Workers Compensation benefits.

  2. Loc Hoang Pham

    Contributor Level 8


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes it would be in your best interest to sign it. They will obtain your medical information regardless. Any future settlement depends on the strength of your case, particular how skilled and experienced your attorney is to rebut any arguments that your pre-existing conditions are a substantial factor in your work injury. Consult with an attorney to help you through this difficult process. Good luck!

  3. Darin Laine Powell

    Contributor Level 5


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A request for release of information relating to your medical history is something which happens in each and every workers’ compensation claim. Since the rules that govern the release of medical information are state and federal, they must apprise you of their compliance with HIPPA. Accordingly, any medical history or medical record release will likely include some language that the release is HIPPA compliant.
    Failing to return the form may in fact jeopardize your rights to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. An insurance company may claim that you are refusing to comply with their investigation and, thereafter, deny your claim. The release of medical information, even if the medical information relates to a condition or conditions that predate the injury in question, is a common request in every workers’ compensation case. This is because the law, as it now stands, requires the doctors who evaluate you to assess the cause and extent of your disability. A complete medical history is required as a doctor’s opinion regarding the cause of disability is only as strong as the foundation upon which it is built, i.e. a complete review of the patient’s medical history.
    You ask if the release of medical information is a way to deny or lessen any future "settlement" that you may be due based on a pre-existing condition in the injured body part. A doctor has to determine whether it was the injury on-the-job that caused the disability, the pre—existing condition that caused the disability, or a combination of both the injury on-the-job and the pre-existing condition that caused the disability. In any case, the doctors who see you to make the decision about the nature and extent of your disability and what caused that disability have to know about the medical history for their report to be accurate. You are not obligated to sign the medical record release; however, the insurance carrier could hire an attorney to take your deposition and seek the information from you that way. Based on your statement that surgery has already been scheduled and approved, it seems to me as though your case is one that has been accepted. It seems to me that signing the medical history release form would do you no harm. It is my experience that they will be able to obtain that information from you one way or another.
    Best of luck.

  4. George Ellis Corson IV

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The Insurance will eventually get the records. Easy is always better than hard. You may need a small advance for a birthday gift or apartment down payment in 6 months. Cooperation goes both ways.

    We give free general concepts to be helpful, but you should give ALL your facts to a licensed Attorney in your... more
  5. Elliot Saunders Berkowitz

    Contributor Level 1


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . i would never recommed signing the release. There are medical records that are irrelevant, such as obgyn, records for women.
    The release is usually overbroad and asks for all and any records.
    Do not sign. Protect your privacy.

    A Professional Corporation

Related Topics

Employment and workers' compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical benefits and compensation for lost wages to employees injured on the job.

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