Do You Need to Disclose Your Medical Records in a Louisiana Car Crash Claim?

nurse looking at medical recordsWhen you file a claim for compensation for car crash damages, the burden of proof is on you. This means you must establish that another driver owed you a duty of care, he or she breached the duty of care and link the breach to your injury.

You also need to prove you suffered an injury, which means you may need to disclose your medical records. However, you need to be cautious about releasing these records. You need to limit what you release to protect your privacy and avoid giving the insurance company information to use against you.

This is a complex issue, which is why you should give serious thought to hiring an experienced attorney to manage the legal process on your behalf. Galloway Jefcoat’s Lafayette auto accident attorneys are ready to assist you. Call to schedule your free consultation to learn more about your legal options.

Your Right to Keep Your Medical Records Private

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) gives you the right to keep your personal health records private. You are the only one who has the right to access your health records, and others may not access them without your written permission.

HIPAA also allows you to obtain medical records for your children or an adult who you personally represent. For example, if you were legally appointed to represent a deceased person’s estate, you can request that individual’s medical records.

People often give written permission for their doctor or their insurance company to review their records.

What Medical Records Should You Release?

An injury victim’s medical records are a vital piece of evidence in a claim for compensation. Medical records serve as proof of a victim’s medical condition and treatment. These records also help to establish the value of the victim’s damages and can be used by medical experts to determine the cause of an injury.

However, you need to be cautious about the records that you release. The only records that are relevant to a claim are those that reference the injury you suffered in the crash. (In some cases, records from before the crash could be used to prove you do not have preexisting medical issues. However, these should be discussed with an attorney.)

Insurance adjusters often ask crash victims to sign a records release request. Unfortunately, many victims do not realize these requests authorize insurance companies to obtain medical records from before the accident. Insurers are looking for evidence of a preexisting medical condition to claim you were not injured in the crash. If they find this evidence, they will try to say you are seeking compensation for an injury you suffered before the crash.

Insurance companies may request additional medical records after the victim or his or her attorney sends a demand letter. However, insurers often do this to obtain information that is unrelated to the crash.

If the insurance company requests medical records, you should discuss the request with an experienced attorney. You do not want to sign your rights away. You have the right to keep your records private and should only release medical records for a good reason.

You are not required to release your records to the insurance company for an insurance claim, no matter what they say. An experienced attorney can help you determine when to release your medical records and what records to release.

Even a reasonable request should be reviewed with an attorney. It is possible one of your doctors needs more information to clarify something in your records. This information may help to validate your claim, or it could be used against you by the insurance company. Your attorney can determine if a request is reasonable and explain what additional information the doctor should provide, if any.

You have the right to tell the insurance company you need time to consider the request and to discuss it with your attorney. Insurance companies want to rush through the process in hopes you will accept a lowball settlement offer.

Can I Be Forced to Release My Records?

If your case makes it to court, you may be compelled to provide medical records to the insurance company. This would happen during the discovery phase of a lawsuit.

However, most cases do not make it to court. They are resolved through an insurance settlement. It is also important to note your lawyer may object to a request for discovery. For example, your attorney may be able to argue these records being requested are not relevant. That is one of the many benefits of being represented by an attorney.

What if I Already Released My Medical Records?

Insurance companies cannot deny a claim simply because of an existing medical issue. You will need to prove the injury you suffered in the crash is unrelated to your existing medical issues, or that you aggravated your existing injury in the crash.

While releasing your records may have been a bad decision, an attorney may still be able to help you seek compensation for your damages.

Need Help With Your Claim? Call for Legal Help

The legal process involved in seeking compensation for vehicle crash damages is complicated. Many decisions need to be made. Evidence needs to be gathered and damages need to be assessed.

Handling these things on your own is often a bad idea. Mistakes could get made and you may have a harder time obtaining full compensation for your damages. Our licensed attorneys are prepared to help you manage every step of the legal process, from start to finish.

We do not charge upfront fees and there is no obligation to hire our firm after an initial consultation. There are also no fees while we work on your case.

Licensed Lawyers. Proven Results. Call (337) 984-8020.