After you open a claim with the opposing insurance company, they will more than likely send you a medical authorization for you to sign. They want to sign this document and return it to them so they can get all of your medical records for their review. Often, the authorization they send you is a broad and blanket authorization for medical records with no date limitations. That basically means, you are giving them your permission to get any and all medical records from any and all healthcare providers. Unfortunately, many insurance adjusters want nothing more than to go fishing through your medical records to find any reason at all they can deny the claim. They might find a similar injury over 10 years ago, and they will sink their teeth into it. For example, if you have any back injury in your history, they will use that against you if you are trying to claim back pain from the current accident. As always, there are exceptions to the rule, but in my experience, most insurance adjusters who send broad authorizations are seeking to go fishing for information.
I usually advise my clients to provide whatever information they want to provide. I don’t typically provide any previous medical records unless it is critical to the case. If you are claiming a significant personal injury from an accident, they may indeed insist on getting your previous medical records to ensure that you are not trying to pull the wool over their eyes. If you have a herniated disc from an accident for example, but you actually have a herniated disc from before the accident, that will be a significant issue in your case. However, by the same token, if your previous medical records are devoid of any mention of herniation, that might play in your favor. In short, I advise against signing anything the opposing party’s insurance company sends. There is nothing to be gained in most cases. You control what information you provide to them. Do not give them permission to fish through your past looking for a reason to deny your claim.
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by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.