There are few people in this world who know you as well—or at least as intimately—as your doctor. When a stranger asks to see your doctor’s notes on you it can be a bit alarming. Luckily, this doesn’t happen often as it’s not as if just anyone can have access to your record—and not without your permission. It is important that you don’t grant permission to your medical record lightly under any circumstance, but never more so than when you are in litigation for an accident.
Seeing your Doctor-Documenting Your Accident
When you have been hurt in an accident at work, in a car accident, or while out and about, your first order of business is to see a medical professional. If your injury is severe enough for you to visit an emergency room, or if you are injured while traveling, you will want to check in with your primary care doctor as soon as you can.
Your primary doctor has access to your long-term medical records, but more importantly knows you and is in the best position to assess your injury and the impact that injury may have on your life. This is an important assessment in the case of accident litigation because the impact on your life is factored into your pain and suffering compensation.
Sharing Your Medical Records
After the doctor, your next order of business should be finding a personal injury lawyer. The weeks and months after the accident are going to be a hectic whirlwind of deadlines, paperwork, meetings and request. Unless you are a trained professional, this can be a confusing process. Seeking out the assistance and guidance of a personal injury attorney can relieve much of this stress. An important thing the lawyer will help you with is requests for release of medical records.
After your accident, the insurance company will start contacting you to adjudicate your claim. They will assign an insurance adjuster to your case and they will collect information from you to determine their fault in the case and what they believe your compensation should be. It is common for the insurance company to request your medical records.
Your personal injury attorney will advise you what portions of your medical records you should share. You will not want to give the adjustor carte blanche access; they have no business accessing your entire record—they only need information pertaining to the accident. Once you send the information to the adjuster, however, they may feel that they need more information or clarification.
Adjusters often request to see your X-Rays and radiographer’s report, instead of relying on the write-up and assessment of your doctor, for example. If you have re-injured something, or exacerbated a previous injury, the adjuster may wish to see the original documentation from the first injury in an effort to determine how much of this accident is to blame for your current discomfort or disability.
Protect Your Privacy
One thing your personal injury attorney will advise you of is how to protect your privacy. As discussed above, the insurance company has no need to review your entire medical history. Your lawyer will advise you to never allow the insurance adjuster to contact your doctor directly. If the insurance company needs more information or clarification, they should go through you.
When they contact you for information, it is up to you if you decide to share it. If the request seems reasonable, you should inform the adjustor that the insurance company is responsible for any record copy fees. If they agree, get this consent in writing, and have the record sent to you. Your lawyer will review this with you, make sure that the information contained is factual, pertains to the case, and is not damaging to you, you will then release it to the insurance company.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Navigating through the legal process after an injury can be confusing, especially when medical records are reviewed and shared. The professionals at Mitch Grissim and Associates have been navigating these waters on behalf of Nashville workers for over 35 years. Put that experience to work for you. Contact Mitch Grissim & Associates today and let the pros work for you!