While you may not be able to settle your claim without letting the insurance company analyze your medical records, you should never provide an adjuster full access to your past.
Insurance Companies and Medical Records
Insurance adjusters need access to accident victims’ medical records to do their job: they cannot, in good faith, advise their employer to offer a fair settlement if they cannot verify your injuries.
However, adjusters often want to see your long-term health history, too. They might tell you they need to check whether your injuries could be explained by a pre-existing condition. In reality, they are likely looking for an excuse—any excuse—to devalue or deny your claim. This is because insurance companies are for-profit businesses.
While the adjuster might be an honest, hardworking individual, the insurer is beholden to its stockholders. And stockholders only care about profits. Since the insurance company cannot deliver its stockholders dividends if they pay every accident victim the maximum settlement amount, they actively look for ways to reduce damages and awards.
Medical Record Mistakes You Should Avoid Making
Insurance adjusters are trained to use your own words against you. They may also withhold information that could influence your recovery. You should never potentially compromise your recovery by:
- Consenting to an independent medical examination. The adjuster might ask if you are willing to consent to an “independent medical examination.” This examination will be conducted by a physician hand-picked by the insurance agency. Needless to say, the examination will be anything but “independent.” Oftentimes, insurance companies refer accident victims to doctors who rarely find anything seriously wrong with their patients, or who are willing to attribute complaints to pre-existing conditions or illnesses.
- Signing a general records release. The insurance company might need to see your medical records to verify your claim. However, they do not need to see all of your medical records. If you let the adjuster peruse your entire health history, they will probably find a reason to deny your claim.
- Letting the adjuster talk to your doctor. Your medical records are protected by federal law. You do not have to give an adjuster permission to speak to your doctor about your injuries. The adjuster can take your doctor’s words out of context, too.
- Waiting too long to contact an attorney. Insurance companies prefer accident victims who lack legal representation. When you do not have a lawyer, the insurer can devalue your claim, ignore your phone calls, and negotiate in bad faith, waiting until you are desperate enough to accept an unfair settlement. You stand your best chance of getting justice when you act fast.
If You Need a Fair Semi-Truck Accident Settlement, Contact the Law Office of Layton & Southard
If you were hurt in a Missouri semi-truck accident, the Law Office of Layton & Southard can help. We can take over communications with the insurance company, saving you the trouble of responding to the adjuster’s never-ending demands. We will protect your privacy, ensuring that the insurance company only gets the information it needs to process your claim.
If the semi-truck company and its insurer are unwilling to negotiate a fair and just settlement, we could take them to court to get you the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.
Do not let yourself get bullied by a company that cares more about its profits than your well-being. Send the Law Firm of Layton & Southard a message online, or call us today at 573-335-3359 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.