Automobile accidents happen in the blink of an eye, but the consequences of them, even when you are not at fault, last much longer. The physical and financial recovery from automobile accidents can take months to years. Dealing with insurance companies is often one of the more stressful parts of the experience.
As well-known Georgia personal injury attorneys, we often get asked whether insurance companies have to be allowed access to your medical records after an accident. The answer depends on which records they are seeking.
Insurance Companies Can Get Some Medical Records
If you’ve been in a Georgia motor vehicle accident with injuries and are seeking compensation for those injuries from your insurer, or another driver and their insurer, you will have to show documentation of your injury. Since your injury is at issue, insurance companies will be allowed some access to your medical records.
The purpose of permitting insurance companies access is to allow them to investigate the truth of your claim. The records they may review are those that could be relevant to your Georgia automobile accident claim. While insurance companies should be allowed to verify your claim, they’re known to overreach, get more of your medical records than they are entitled to, and try to use them against you.
Be Cautious of Medical Record Requests
Insurance companies hope to find some pre-existing injury in your medical records to point to as the cause of your injuries, rather than it resulting from the Georgia motor vehicle crash. For example, if you suffered a neck injury, an insurance company may try to blame it on a sports injury you suffered 10 years prior. They will look for anything in your medical records to support their position. Seemingly innocuous doctor’s visits from the past can be turned against you.
Insurance companies have tricky ways of getting these records, such as having you sign a medical record authorization form that is very broad or lacks proper HIPAA language, or requesting more records than they are legally entitled to in the hopes you will turn them over voluntarily because you don’t know you can deny the request. We recommend that you always consult with an attorney before granting an insurance company’s medical record request. An attorney can help you understand what requests are proper. If any requests are not proper, the attorney can help you file the proper objectives and protect your medical privacy.