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Victor C. Mitchener, Attorney

Joseph H. Downer, Attorney

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Should you sign a medical authorization form after a car crash?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

After surviving a motor vehicle accident, the next phase you must confront is the process of pursuing compensation from the negligent party’s insurance company. One of their immediate requests will likely be to access your medical records to validate the severity of your injuries and calculate potential damages.

However, it would help to be wary of insurers who act in bad faith. They may only seek your permission to authorize the release of your medical records to obtain more than the necessary information and leverage it to reduce or avoid their liability.

Think before you sign

North Carolina is one of the few states with a strict contributory negligence law that bars recovery if the victim is partially at fault. This rule means that even if you are only 1% liable, you still cannot receive financial relief for your injuries and losses.

So, to protect their profit, insurers do everything they can to prove that you bear a percentage of fault for the collision. They may request you to sign a medical authorization form only to turn the case in their favor by:

  • Using medical history dating back from birth to show that injuries, illnesses or complications result from your pre-existing health conditions instead of the accident.
  • Using doctor’s notes to find loopholes or contradictions in your statements to cast doubt on your integrity or devalue your claim, without considering that it is normal for symptoms to take time to manifest.
  • Using doctor’s appointments to demonstrate that the frequency of your visits dictates how your physical well-being is already at risk even before the crash occurred.

The state upholds the confidentiality of patient information. So, you do not have to give up your privacy for your claim. Instead, before signing any document, seek legal guidance to learn your options.

Do not submit any document without legal supervision

The insurance company still needs a copy of your medical records relevant to the case, but not your entire medical background. You can benefit from working with a legal team to coordinate the insurer’s required paperwork and walk you through what you need to submit. Doing so can prevent the insurer from limiting their payouts at your expense.