Once you set up a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, one of their adjusters will be assigned to your claim. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster represents the insurance company, even when their insured driver is at-fault for the car accident.
Therefore, it is their primary job to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident. The adjuster works to determine whether you should be paid for damages. The negotiated settlement the adjuster offers will be an amount that saves their employer as much money as possible.
With this in mind, never assume that any request for information – especially your medical records – is to look out for your best interests and offer a fair settlement. In an attempt to get all documentation about your injuries and the medical treatment you receive, the adjuster may also ask you to undergo an independent medical examination.
Insurance Adjusters are not Legal Advisers
In some situations, the insurance adjuster might offer you legal advice such as recommending that you not contact an attorney. Any legal advice is an unauthorized practice of law that could lead to serious legal issues. Questions you might have about your legal rights can only be answered by an attorney.
The truth is the insurance adjuster knows you have a better chance of receiving a fair settlement. Since this amount is often more than they are willing to pay, do not let it surprise you if they try to discourage you from contacting an attorney.
They also know that with an attorney on your side, they will not receive more information than is necessary about your medical history. In other words, you only need to provide relevant medical records with a personal injury demand letter. Requesting information outside the scope of the accident is often an attempt to uncover a preexisting condition that might have contributed to your injuries.
You do not have to comply with sending the insurance company information about unrelated injuries. However, you have a right to protect your privacy. Politely remind the adjuster that the attorneys can argue the issue of whether the additional records are relevant. Otherwise, there is no reason for the insurance company to pry into your personal medical history.
Never Sign Your Rights Away
Never sign an agreement that would authorize the insurance adjuster to get any of your medical records directly. Additionally, never give verbal permission for the adjuster to obtain your records. Always get the records yourself and send reports that are based on the treatment you received after their insured driver caused the accident.
Two things can happen when you give the insurance adjuster rights to your medical records. As stated above, the insurance company will use any preexisting conditions against you. If there appears to be a link between your accident injuries and an illness or injury you suffered in the past, they may deny the compensation that you deserve.
In addition, signing a blanket medical release form is giving up leverage to negotiate a fair amount. This type of form authorizes full disclosure of everything for which you received medical treatment. Asymptomatic injuries that you have had for over a decade is fair game to the adjuster who is trying to save their company money.
Ultimately, relevant medical records will be released; this is necessary to negotiate a settlement. However, it might work in your best interest to not release anything until you have been medically diagnosed and treatment is either in progress or completed.
Let a Personal Injury Lawyer Fight for You
Just as the insurance adjuster is committed to fighting for their employer, you need someone on your side who will fight harder on your behalf. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury from a car accident, exercise your right to speak with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accident claims.
Contacting a competent lawyer immediately can put your mind at ease from falling for the tricks of an insurance adjuster. Your lawyer will help you determine which documents to sign. A good lawyer will offer a free consultation to discuss the merits of your case and the best defense.
While you or your loved one focuses on healing, your lawyer will help you win the case by recovering compensation for your injuries, expenses for doctor’s visits, medication, therapy and anything related to the suffering you have endured.
Using his skills and knowledge of personal injury law, your lawyer will settle your accident claim for a fair and reasonable dollar amount based on your injuries.