The car accident wasn't my fault and I went to the emergency room to be checked out. I was rreleased. My doctor has perscribed physical therapy. The other insurance company is asking me to release my medical history. I've never done this before. Should I?
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
Insurance companies try to blame an injury victim's condition on anyone and anything else other than their insured and his/her negligent behavior. So, this is typical. The adjuster wants to review your medical history so he/she can try to convince you that your claim is worth less because you had a pre-existing condition in the same body part.
But that argument actually helps to build your case. In personal injury, the subject crash/fall/trauma need only be A CAUSE, not the one and only cause, of your current symptoms and need for treatment. A pre-existing condition actually makes it more likely that an injury victim will need treatment; so I don't see why adjusters routinely throw that garbage argument at me.
Under those circumstances, I prefer to give the adjusters a medical release and a list of current and prior medical service providers so they can get all the info they want. If they find pre-existing conditions, great (see Fla Standard Jury Instruction 5.1). If you choose not to provide access to your medical history, be prepared for them to dig in.
Dennis Phillips, Esq.
Florida personal injury and wrongful death attorney
It would be a mistake to give the adverse insurance carrier access to your medical records at this time. The adverse insurance carrier and any insurance carrier for that matter, is neither your friend nor your good neighbor. The sole goal of any insurance company is to pay you nothing or as little as possible on your potential claim.
I suggest that you take advantage of the offer of a free consultation from a local personal injury attorney and see whether or not you might benefit from legal representation before you make any decisions on how to further proceed. The sooner you seek counsel, the sooner you might be put on the path to a reasonable recovery for your injuries. You may also find it helpful to review some of the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com, many of which deal with the circumstances you are now experiencing following this collision.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.
Most insurance adjusters will continue to negotiate with you if you ignore their request for additional medical records and information about your health history. They typically send these requests to all injured people. I have been hired to defend many people by insurance companies and these requests are important in cases where chronic complaints are made. If you recover within a few months this information is less relevant to the insurance companies evaluation of your claim. The advice you received from the other attorneys is correct and you should ignore the request. If you do not recover from your injuries in a "timely" fashion you will definitely need the help of a lawyer.
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
Absolutely not. They will use your medical authorization to get EVERYTHING in your medical history, the vast majority of which is totally irrelevant to your current injury. If you wish to pursue a claim, you should consult a top plaintiff's attorney who will provide the insurance company with only the medical and billing records related to your injury. The insurance company is only interested in defending your claim, that is, finding any causes of your current injury other than the negligence of their insured. To that end, they will misconstrue any prior aches, pains and injuries you may have had as the real cause of your current injury, and thus pay you less money or no money at all. They are not your friend, and are totally adverse to you. The hiring of a top plaintiff's attorney will cause the insurance company to value your claim higher since they know their insured may be hauled before a jury and hit with a large verdict potentially. Good luck. The parting wisdom I leave you with is never trust an insurance company, whether your own or the at-fault driver's. They are in the business of making money, not bringing justice to people which is what we, the plaintiff's bar, does every day.
Personal Injury Lawyer
No! You have an obligation to cooperate with your own insurance company. Unless you are making a claim for the injuries you sustained, you should not give medical records and more importantly a release to obtain medical records to anyone. Talk to an attorney for free and understand your legal rights.