After you’re involved in an accident, it’s fairly common for the other party’s insurance company to reach out to you. It may seem innocent enough, especially if they seem apologetic about the accident and concerned about your recovery. They may ask you to fill out some “routine paperwork” as part of their investigation. Before you sign anything, make sure you talk to a lawyer first.
At Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell, we are committed to helping accident victims like you fight for the compensation they deserve. Call us at our Chatom office at 251-336-3411 or our Bay Minette office at 251-336-3697 to set up a consultation right away.
Do Not Sign a Medical Release
A medical release may be in the “routine documentation” that the other party’s insurance company sends over. Under no circumstances should you sign this or anything else from them before you talk to a Chatom car accident attorney. Not only does this not help you, but it can also actually hurt you. In fact, the information included in your medical background and health history can only hurt you when it comes to negotiating with the other party’s insurance provider.
This Release Gives the Insurance Adjuster Free Access to Your Medical Background
Yes, the insurance company will need access to relevant medical records in order to provide a fair settlement. However, a general release doesn’t limit them to accident-related records. It also allows them to see information on that time you hurt your wrist at work and follow-up appointments for lingering pain. And it shows them how you once broke your arm skiing and that it required surgical repair.
They will dig through these records and use anything they can to drive down the value of your claim or avoid paying you anything at all. They’ll claim that your broken arm might be from their client’s choice to T-bone you, but who knows? It could also be because of your preexisting injury caused by a ski trip five years ago. They’ll ask if they should really be responsible for all of your medical bills, since at least some of your pain and suffering is probably because you’ve already hurt your arm before.
They are relentless, and if you give them free access to your medical history, they will do everything in their power to pay you as little as possible. Don’t make it that easy for them.
Give Them the Records They Need and Nothing Else
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t give them any of your medical records. If you want compensation for your accident injuries, you will need to prove that you’re actually injured and that it was the result of their client’s negligence. However, you can limit what you give them access to and ensure that you only give them accident-related documentation. This protects you from further unethical behavior on the part of the insurance company.
Have an Attorney to Help You with These Issues
At this point, you may be asking how you are supposed to navigate this. The insurance adjuster is being fairly pushy about the medical release form, and up to this point, they’ve been so nice. How are you supposed to tell them no and only give them what they need?
That’s when it’s time to bring in a car accident lawyer. An experienced car accident attorney can skillfully deal with insurance adjusters, ignore their attempt to derail your claim, and secure the evidence needed to prove your case.
In fact, once you hire a car accident attorney, you don’t even need to have any more direct contact with the other driver’s insurance adjuster. Just let your attorney take the wheel while you focus on recovering from your injuries. This allows you to enjoy the peace of mind you deserve after a car crash.
Contact Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell for Help With Your Injury Claim
The sooner you connect with Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell, the sooner we can start advocating for you. Let’s set up a time to sit down, talk about your accident, and figure out what your next steps are. Call us at our Chatom office at 251-336-3411 or our Bay Minette office at 251-336-3697 or to schedule a consultation now.