After suffering injuries in truck wrecks, it’s common to find oneself in contact with the truck driver’s or owner’s insurance company not long after the accident. Coping with injuries and pain, it’s rare to have the time or endurance to deal with an insurance agent’s prodding for very long. It’s also often easy to forget that the insurance company isn’t there to help you, but instead is trying to protect the trucking company.
Insurance agents/adjusters usually try to get victims to talk about the details of the accident, seeking any information that might get the trucker off the hook. Adjusters frequently ask the victim to sign a medical records release. Here we explain common questions that our clients have in these situations and what to do if you find yourself facing similar requests.
And, as always, if you have been hurt in a truck wreck in Texas or have more questions, please contact our Dallas law firm anytime.
What Is a Medical Records Release?
A medical records release is a written document that allows health care providers to release a patient’s medical information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Texas state law, prohibit a care provider from releasing a patient’s information unless the patient gives his or her permission in writing.
That means your insurance company cannot obtain medical information from your doctor or hospital on their own. You must sign a release first.
Why Would an Insurance Adjuster Need My Medical Records?
Asking for the medical records of an accident victim is a routine part of an insurance adjuster’s job. Insurance companies want to view these records to verify the extent of your injuries and the medical treatment you receive. They often want access to your medical history from before the accident as well, because they want to try to find out if you had any injuries that are not related to the crash.
Always remember that the goal of the truck company’s insurer is to minimize the amount of money they have to pay to you to compensate for your injuries.
Should I Sign a Medical Release?
The key is to make sure that the release you’re being asked to sign is not too broad. The insurer may tell you they can’t process any claims unless they receive your medical history. However, they do not need to know your entire history. Rather, all they need are records related to the accident. But, in nearly every case, they will ask the victim to provide decades of medical history, which is a big advantage for them and a disadvantage for you.
So, before signing a release, talk to your truck accident attorney. Have him or her review the request and narrow its scope so it only covers medical records pertaining to the wreck. At the end of the day, you will have to provide records; let’s make sure they’re only the ones you need.
Hurt in a Truck Wreck? Have Questions About Insurance? Call Us!
The Dallas truck accident lawyers of Ted B. Lyon & Associates handles all types of big-rig wreck injury claims and insurance issues. Call 800-TedLyon or contact us online anytime to discuss your situation.