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I was in an auto accident. The insurance company has sent me…

I was in an auto...
I was in an auto accident. The insurance company has sent me a request to release medical records. I do not want to sign it. I do not want to give them a release. I have no problem sending them my bills but I feel that the release is an invasion of my privacy. Also in the letter they sent is states that the can refuse to pay my claim if I do not sign the release. But in the same letter it also states that they are not required to protect my info under HIPPA laws. Am I required to sign the release? I plan on calling the adjuster today to give them an update on my situation and discuss damages to my car. I need to figure out what I am required to do and what I do not have to do with this whole situation.
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
12/14/2017
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,376
Experience: Attorney with significant personal injury experience
Verified

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

You are not required to sign the release. However, the flip side is that the insurance company for the other driver is not required to settle your case. They can force you to file a lawsuit, which is something they know you are not capable of doing effectively on your own.

At my law office we never sign these general releases, and are are always able to still settle claims. The thing is, when you are not represented you are often not going to be treated by insurance companies in the same way. You can refuse to sign the release and then present all relevant bills when the time comes to settle. The insurance company may still decide to deal with you.

Otherwise, though, you'll need to file suit. Once you file suit the insurance company will be able to subpoena all your records without your permission, so the benefit of refusing to sign a general release isn't THAT great. But refusing to sign the general release would still protect your privacy to the greatest possible degree and avoid unnecessary and intrusive requests.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
If I sign the release, will they be able to access any records that were before the accident? I know the insurance company would like to try to say that any condition was pre-existing and try to use any previous records to make that link. Also if it come to a subpoena would they be able to request records before the accident date?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
also how would I go about or how would I approach the adjuster to discuss the reserve amount they have set aside for this accident? I just want to make sure it is a reasonable amount to cover damages and medical bills.

Thank you.

Yes, they absolutely would be able to access records from before the accident. But for that matter, if you don't sign the release they would be able to subpoena records from before the accident and, yes, try to argue that your condition is pre-existing. Basically, the bot***** *****ne is that if you are alleging you were injured, you are putting your medical condition at issue and the insurance company is entitled to investigate other potential causes for your condition. To do this they can subpoena your old medical records. It is then a matter of being able to argue that whatever appears in your old records is not the cause of your current condition. For instance, if you had a minor back injury 6 years ago but haven't treated since, the old back injury would probably be discovered by the insurance company when they get your records but you would be able to easily argue that you fully healed from that condition and it has nothing to do with your current situation, given that you haven't treated for 6 years.

Again, ultimately, it comes down to what can be argued convincingly by both you and by the insurance compahy, and to what a jury would believe.

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You don't discuss their reserve. In fact you don't discuss settlement until you are ready to settle. When you are ready to settle, you present all your medical bills along with an explanation of your injuries, etc and then attempt to negotiate a mutually acceptable figure for settlement.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I am concerned because I did have an injury about 20 yrs ago. this pain and the location is similar to the old injury. but all treatment for that injury was completed 20 yrs ago.

Thank you. I would not be concerned about that at all. The accident was so long ago that the insurance company's record requests probably won't even go back that far. And even if they did, if 20 years have past since your last treatment there is no connection to your current injury. This is a "non issue."

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
also i know there is a time limit to file a suit. but does that limit clock start from the date of the accident or the date that treatment end

From the date of the accident.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Is that limit 2 yrs? I am in Texas

Correct, it is 2 years for personal injury.

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I hope that I have been able to answer your questions. If so, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service (using the stars at the top of the page) so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes.

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Are you still with me?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Should I discuss my injuries with the adjuster? Should I let him know that I am still in pain and seeking treatment? I am currently seeing a chiropractor 3 days per week but I am looking for an MD to review my injuries because I do not see a lot of relief from the chiropractor.

I would refrain from discussing details until you present your settlement demand. You stand nothing to gain from discussing things earlier, especially over the phone. Remember, the insurance company's goal is to pay you as little as possible. They are looking for everything they can to justify the smallest possible offer to you. I would also strongly consider retaining an attorney. Yes, you will pay a fee (typically one third), but the insurance companies just don't respect unrepresented parties because they know unrepresented parties have no ability to successfully litigate their case. In most cases, insurance companies only offer a fraction of the total case value when you don't have an attorney.

I hope this helps, and that I have answered your questions.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Well I do need to discuss some damages to my car. The body shop called me today and told me the insurance company does not want to pay for damages to the wheels and rocker panel from hitting a curb. The body shop says I will have to pay that out of my pocket. Just shy of $1k out of the $7500 in damages. I scraped the wheels against the curb trying to get out of the middle of the street after she hit me.

Property damage is separate from bodily injury, so you can certainly discuss that. I just wouldn't discuss the bodily injury claim until you are ready to settle it. Nothing will be gained from doing so.

I hope this helps.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
ok, one other thing. My car is a lincoln MKZ. only 2 companies in town have that car available for rent. the average daily rental is about $220 per day. Now I know they have to provide me with something comparable to my own. so since My Own kind of car is available can I make them pay me that rate for the days I am without my car? A caddilac is available at $118 per day but it is just not a nice as my Lincoln.

We have well exceeded the scope of your original question, which was about signing a medical records release. I have tried to accommodate your additional questions, but site rules do require new questions to be asked in separate question threads. I would kindly ask that you positively rate my service to you here, so that I may receive credit for my time helping you over the past hour. If you would then like to repost the above as a new question, it would be my pleasure to assist you further there. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Best,

Patrick

Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,376
Experience: Attorney with significant personal injury experience
Verified
Patrick, Esq. and 87 other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I will rate you but do not bother answering any of my additional question. Greed of people still never seems to surprise me.

I have gone out of my way to assist you answering your additional questions. I take exception to you calling this greed. That said, I do genuinely wish you luck with your case.

Happy holidays.

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