We recently received an inquiry asking, “Do I have to provide a release of medical information to the insurance company?”
Generally, the answer is “no,” but for a more detailed answer, I need to know the type of case.
If you’re making a claim directly against the driver who caused the wreck, the answer is clearly “no.” In that situation, we would almost never advise our clients to sign a blank release giving the insurance company full access to all of your medical records. Instead, we’ll gather all of your medical records related to your wreck and forward them to the insurance company.
Now, once a lawsuit is filed, the insurance company will typically subpoena records from medical providers who you saw as a result of the wreck. Additionally, if you have a history of a condition related to your injuries from the wreck, the insurance company might try and get your records from before the wreck. But even in those situations, we’ll try and insist on a reasonable limit on what they obtain.
If you’re making a claim against your uninsured or underinsured motorist carrier or with your personal injury protection carrier, then you have a contractual duty to cooperate with the company. If you don’t, you could be risking your benefits. But even in those situations, when the insurance company asks for a release, we’ll try and work with them to provide a limited release. For example, we might limit the release to those doctors who provided treatment from the wreck. And if the insurance company wants past medical records, we might limit them to five years before the wreck. The insurance companies will typically work with us to find some reasonable limits.
Again, there may be situations where you have a long-standing condition that makes things a little different, but for those most part, this is how we try and deal with requests for a medical release.