Insurance adjusters are encouraged to find reasons to pay out as little as possible, so it is reasonable for you to be suspicious when they request medical records or examinations. Many people will feel pressured by an adjuster’s request and end up making critical mistakes. Odessa personal injury lawyer Robert White offers a few tips for avoiding these mistakes and maintaining your privacy.
Although it is expected that you will give an insurance adjuster access to relevant medical records, sometimes requests come up that raise a few questions. Always ask an insurance adjuster why they need access to a personal care physician’s or specialist’s records. Requests for records that seem dated or irrelevant are a red flag that the adjuster is attempting to find evidence against you. You always retain the right to refuse until the case ends up in court, in which case your legal counselor can help you choose how to proceed.
Even if the request is reasonable, never give written or verbal permission for an adjuster to access your medical records on their own. Confirm everything in writing, request that the insurance company cover any fees, and retrieve your records yourself. Only give copies of records specific to your case. All of these actions are well within your rights; don’t give in to pressure.
Medical reports often specify details that common records do not. If an insurance adjuster requests a report from a physician or specialist, follow the same protocol listed above. Confirm in writing that the insurance company will pay the fees and request and review the report yourself. Never allow the adjuster to contact your doctor. You also retain the ability to refuse if the request seems unreasonable, as privacy is a constitutional right. Only in the event of a trial will you be obligated to do anything. These things are important to remember, as insurance claims can be overwhelming and adjusters can be persuasive, especially to those already made vulnerable by injury or trauma.
Occasionally, an insurance adjuster will request that you undergo an independent medical examination (IME) from a physician they recommend. In theory, this is so they can receive an unbiased opinion about your condition. In practice, however, it is often the case that the physician is encouraged to find as little wrong with you as possible. Never forget that the insurance company is attempting to curb the amount of compensation you receive. Because of this, IMEs are almost always a bad idea to follow through with. Unless this type of examination is mandated by your insurance policy (which is a good thing to check for), you still retain your right to say no. These cases are why obtaining legal counsel is so important, as your lawyer will help you confirm your options and can negotiate on your behalf.