Medical records are very important to personal injury claims. They are used as key pieces of evidence to prove your injuries and what medical treatment your received or will need in the future. While it’s common for an insurance adjuster to request and receive medical records, keep in mind these tips on what to know when it comes to medical records and personal injury claims.
How Are Medical Records Used in a Personal Injury Claim?
Medical records prove your injuries and the treatments required to heal from your injuries. In many cases, you may have several healthcare providers from whom you will need medical records to prove your claim. An insurance company may also require that you undergo an independent medical exam from a doctor of their choosing to confirm your own doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis.
Insurance Adjuster Requesting Medical Records
Insurance adjusters may continually request medical records as part of your personal injury settlement negotiations. They may say that they don’t have enough information about your injury, request records relating to a pre-existing condition or may need more detail not indicated in the record. Whatever the reason they say, follow these tips for dealing with an insurance adjuster requesting your medical records.
- Ask why the records are needed. Adjusters may go fishing for pre-existing conditions or other reasons to deny or devalue your claim.
- Demand the insurance company pay for the medical records. Healthcare providers typically charge a fee to obtain copies of medical records.
- Never give permission to the insurance company to obtain your medical records. You or your attorney should get the records, review them and then send.
- Consult with your personal injury lawyer. They can advise you if the request is reasonable and communicate directly with the insurance company.
- Remember, you do not have to turn over old or irrelevant medical records to an insurance company. Don’t let the insurance companies create reasons to doubt your claim.
How to Obtain Your Medical Records
You have a right to see and obtain copies of your medical records. In New Jersey, the healthcare provider technically owns the record itself but under federal and state privacy laws generally cannot release those records without your explicit permission. Your personal injury lawyer can handle medical record requests and keep track of the records related to your ongoing treatment.
Whether you are requesting the records yourself or if your attorney is requesting them on your behalf, keep in mind the following:
- Healthcare providers have 30 days from receipt of your request to provide your record (or deny the request)
- You may request medical records in any format (paper or electronic) and the provider must supply them, so long as it is not difficult to do so
- You can request all or part of the record. If you only need part, make sure your request is specific to exactly what elements or timeframe you need.
- You can request a medical summary or report; however, the provider can charge you for their time to create the summary.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to personal injury claims and medical records is to protect yourself and know your rights. Do not sign a waiver letting the insurance company request records without talking to your lawyer first.
Brandon J. Broderick, Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence or even complete disregard for others’ safety and well-being, working with experienced personal injury attorneys can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Insurance companies may deny or devalue your claim. They may pressure you into signing waivers you don’t understand.
By having legal representation, Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, will handle all communications with the responsible parties and insurance company on your behalf and work toward securing the compensation you rightfully deserve. And, if an agreeable negotiation can’t be had, we won’t hesitate to take the case to trial -- and win.
Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney, at Law, for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success with personal injury settlements and our commitment to client care, we can turn your setback into a comeback.