If you have been injured in a Virginia automobile accident, you likely expect the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to cover the costs of your medical treatment. However, securing fair compensation can be difficult, especially when the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith. While insurers have many strategies designed to devalue claims, one of the most common is asking car crash victims to share their medical records. When insurance companies want your medical records

Why Virginia Insurance Companies Ask for Medical Records

Virginia is an at-fault state. If you have been injured in an automobile accident that was not your fault, the other driver’s policy is supposed to cover your medical expenses along with any other damages you may have suffered. In order to assess your claim, the insurance company will need some access to your health records. This helps the adjuster determine the extent of your injuries.

If the adjuster asks you to sign a medical records release form, this might seem like an innocent request. However, many release forms allow the insurance company free access to your entire medical record.

In most cases, the adjuster has no legal right to this information—but they will still ask and may pressure you into signing. Their access to your medical records is a strategy used to devalue your claim. They will closely analyze your history to see if they can blame your accident-related injuries on a pre-existing condition. If they can, they could devalue or even deny your claim.

When You’re Asked to Sign Over Your Medical Records

Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators. They know how to put pressure on automobile accident victims. Even if you are still recovering from your injuries, the adjuster might visit you in the hospital, clipboard and papers in hand, asking you to sign away your rights. If you refuse, they might try to intimidate you, saying you will not be able to receive compensation. However, you do not have to give in to the insurance company’s scare tactics.

How to Respond When an Adjuster Wants Your Records

  • Refuse. Even if the adjuster tries to pressure you, tell them you need to speak to an attorney before signing a medical release. You are not obliged to immediately comply with their request.
  • Exercise caution. Adjusters have other ways to devalue your claim. They could ask you to provide a recorded statement, explaining about your injuries or how the accident happened. They might also tell you to get a medical exam from an “impartial” third-party physician. However, you should never consent to these requests without talking to your lawyer. Often, these requests are fishing expeditions to get damaging information. When the insurance company has your medical records, a recorded statement, or an additional examination, they have more opportunities to use your words and your health against you.
  • Contact an attorney. Insurance companies understand that lawyers know their tricks. We fight for our clients’ rights and will not allow the insurance company to escape accountability. If they are unwilling to negotiate in good faith, we can take them and the at-fault driver to court.

Contact Us for Your Best Chance at Recovery

If you try to negotiate with the insurance company without the assistance of an experienced Virginia car crash attorney, you are putting your legal recovery at risk. Even if the adjuster consents to a settlement, they likely will not offer compensation that covers all of your damages. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can help you secure the compensation you need to begin putting your life back together after a tragic automobile accident. Our attorneys can help get you the money you need and the justice you deserve. Please send us a message online, or call us at 703-691-8333 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.