Insurance companies will push for you to give your authorization to obtain your complete medical history. You should avoid this. This is an open invitation to dig for information that could potentially hurt your case. You have no duty to provide authorizations to your medical records outside of your medical treatment for your personal injury case. Even during the litigation and discovery process, a skilled personal injury attorney will fight the other side’s attempts at obtaining irrelevant and unrelated medical records. Such records are never beneficial to the Plaintiff. They can only hurt their case. So listen to the advice of your attorney. Only provide these types of releases unless absolutely necessary.
The Risk of Overtreating
Sometimes the release of pertinent medical records is helpful. In fact, if the insurance company provides a release for medical records and you have your client sign it, the insurance companies are required to disclose the policy limits. This can be helpful from a tactical standpoint because you will figure out how much money is in the purse. If you know how much money is at stake, you can direct your medical treatment accordingly and avoid “overtreatment” of the personal injury case.
Overtreatment occurs when a personal injury claimant incurs more costs in medical treatment than the insurance policy limits. This can create severe problems with not enough money to go around at the end of the case. This is also why it is important to monitor medical treatment in relation to potential policy limits. Even if you don’t know the exact policy limits, there are things that smart personal injury attorneys can do to estimate the policy limits, including investigating the assets of the defendant, analyzing the car driven by the defendant, sending a preliminary demand package to the insurance company, or having a third party company investigate the exact policy limits.
Prior medical records can be fatal to a personal injury case. If it is revealed in prior medical records that you had pre-existing issues with a body part that you injured in an accident, the insurance company will try to say that the injuries are not causally related to the accident and avoid paying any real money on the claim, even if you fully recovered from the prior injury, it will give them ammo against you.