When you assert a claim for personal injuries, your medical status is in issue. The insurance company will want to know what kind of treatment you have had related to the injury. They may also want to know what kind of medical history you have and whether you are expected to have to undergo any future medical treatment.
The need to know past medical history is sometimes surprising to personal injury victims. However, by looking through these records, the insurance company may be trying to claim that you already had some medical problems before the accident. This type of argument could reduce your overall compensation ins your personal injury case.
So, what should you do when your insurance adjuster requests your medical records or asks you to see a particular doctor? Call a personal injury lawyer immediately.
Requests for Medical Records
In some cases, your insurance adjuster will automatically request all of your medical records directly from the hospital or treatment center. In other situations, your adjuster may ask that you provide records. In this situation, you and your attorney can sometimes pick and choose which files you want to provide to the insurance company. This is a delicate process that requires the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Some insurance companies look at your prior medical history to find things that might benefit them in the case. Related injuries are the most common thing they may be looking for, but they also might try to use information regarding mental health or other potentially troublesome past medical issues.
If you do not have a case on file yet, you do not have to provide medical documents to your claims adjuster. If you are uncomfortable sharing these records, talk to your personal injury lawyer about your options before filing a lawsuit.
Do not sign anything that releases your medical records without speaking with an attorney first.
Independent Medical Examinations
In some situations, the insurance company may request that you undergo an independent medical examination (IME). An IME will involve a doctor looking over you to evaluate you based on the particular injuries that you are claiming. The doctor may have you explain your symptoms, do a physical examination, and ask you to perform some simple tasks, like walking across the room.
You generally are not required to submit to an IME for a personal injury case before it is filed with the court, but there may be some exceptions to this rule. Once the case is filed, you may be required to submit to this type of examination if the insurance company requests it. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to explain your rights regarding IMEs both before and after filing a lawsuit.
Your medical information is precious, and you generally do not have to share it with anyone before filing your personal injury lawsuit. There are situations, however, that you may want to. Speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to have him or her explain your rights to you.