SettlementCentral.Com Newsletter

SettlementCentral.com

The Online Source for Personal Injury Claims

Issue 2

In this issue

  • Should I Sign the "Authorization for Release of Medical Records" Sent by the Adjuster?
  • Can I Make Changes on the Authorization Form Sent by the Adjuster During Personal Injury Claim Settlement Negotiations?
  • Who Should Obtain the Records - You or the Adjuster - During Personal Injury Claim Settlement Negotiations

Settle it Yourself Newsletter

Hello!! Welcome to this issue of Settlement Central’s Newsletter. We are pleased to share this newsletter with you, as our business is helping people get satisfactory settlements for their personal injury claims.

 

SettlementCentral.Com tip: Need a convenient way to record your medical care, your costs, your transportation expenses and your miscellaneous expenses? Want an accurate record of events that you will be able to report in your demand letter or use to prepare lay witnesses certified statements? Check out our Confidential Personal Diary here. http://www.settlementcentral.com/format.php?Page=0208

 

In this month’s issue, we will discuss Authorizations for Release of Medical Records, sent out to you by the insurance adjuster.

Thank you for your interest in our site; we hope you will find us to be an excellent source for your own personal injury needs!!

Jeanine Steele
Publisher, Settle it Yourself Newsletter

Authorizations for Release of Medical Records

The ground rules for release of medical records revolve around the desire of the insurance adjuster to discover everything that she can about your past, versus your desire to limit her exploration to information regarding the present accident, plus any other recent (5 years or so) accidents or recent treatments or injuries to the same areas of your body. The answer to whether you should sign the "Authorization for Release of Medical Records" sent by the insurance adjuster depends upon what records the authorization encompasses.

Hopefully you will not sign a blanket authorization, since that could allow the adjuster access to ALL of your records. It also depends upon whether you or the adjuster is going to be in direct contact with your doctors. We recommend that you maintain control—submitting bills and treatment code sheets for payment—so then there is no reason whatsoever to sign any authorization. The adjuster will get the records through you. If she objects that you might be hiding something, you can simply have your doctor prepare a brief letter to the effect he has reviewed your file and found no mention of previous accidents (within 5 years) or of injury or treatment of the same body parts.

You can limit the scope of the authorization in both relevancy and time (e.g., “with respect to the accident of July 8, 2003”). If you do decide to sign the release, you can make changes right on the authorization form sent by the insurance adjuster. It is not written in stone, although the adjuster would like you to think it is! Just don't ask her permission in advance. There is no need to call and discuss any changes with her. Make your changes on the form, in ink, and initial them. Simply line through the printed sentence on the form and write your limiting language between the lines. Keep a copy, of the form for your records before returning it to her.

In obtaining your medical records, there are three potential disadvantages of simply going along with the so-called “standard practice” of insurance adjusters in obtaining your medical records. First, it is more difficult to remain informed about the cost of your medical bills and the descriptions of the services rendered and the progress of your treatment as recorded by your doctor.

Second, if you signed an authorization with few or no controls on what records can be obtained; there is a real risk that the adjuster could go on a fishing expedition through your medical history. Given the opportunity, an adjuster who is in control will try to get all of your records, not just those relevant to the current claim.

Third, the adjuster is likely to establish her own relationship with the staff of your doctor's office. You want her to remain an anonymous participant, not the best buddy of the staff. Why? She could take the opportunity to chat with them about you. That is not professional, and may not be common, but it is known to happen. The conversation would not be an interview—your doctor's staff would not participate in that—but even one comment and a response or two could provide information about you, your family and friends, your job, your attitude, your work, the financial crunch you are experiencing and the stress in your life. Any little piece of information on these topics is of great potential benefit to the insurance adjuster.

Remember, you can easily change the forms to suit your needs. Or, if you are going to obtain all of the records yourself, you can simply decline altogether, and refuse to sign the authorization. As much as the insurance adjuster would have you believe it is your patriotic duty to sign the medical authorization J, rest in the knowledge that like so many other things, the “party line” from her company is neither controlling nor in your best interests.

About SettlementCentral.com

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SettlementCentral.Com, Inc. is a Washington corporation providing general educational information, online, to personal injury victims throughout the United States on how to manage their own personal injury claims through the settlement process - from gathering the necessary information (evidence) to submitting claims and demand letters through engaging in successful personal injury settlement negotiations with insurance companies. Our online instructions and self-help forms and letters are designed to make for easy insurance claims settlements in the areas of auto accidents, pedestrian accidents, dog bites, vicious animal bites, premises liability, and slip and fall accidents.

Contact Information

Your comments and suggestions are welcome! Tell us what topics you would like to see discussed in this newsletter and we will do our best to bring you current useful information. Write to us at: info@SettlementCentral.com