Posted on Monday, October 14th, 2019 at 6:20 pm
After a motor vehicle accident in California, there are many things that you need to take care of related to the accident. Typically, the top two priorities after a car accident are to seek medical care and arrange for transportation. If the other driver caused the accident, you would likely file an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance provider.
Settling Car Accident Claims
Property damage claims are usually settled quickly, but personal injury claims take more time. You need to complete medical treatment and be released from medical care before you settle an insurance claim for personal injuries. The insurance adjuster assigned to your case may ask you to sign a medical records release form or medical records authorization. The adjuster should explain that this form is necessary for the insurance company to obtain copies of your medical records to verify your injuries for the claim.
The adjuster might tell you that without this form, the insurance company cannot process your claim. However, the adjuster may not tell you that the insurance company wants access to your entire medical history.
For that reason, we strongly suggest you speak with a Sacramento personal injury lawyer before signing any forms for the insurance company. Giving the insurance company access to your medical records could potentially harm your case.
Why Would the Insurance Company Want Access to My Medical History?
Insurance companies do not earn profits by paying large settlement claims. Therefore, companies try to lower the amount of money they must pay to accident victims to settle their claims. If they cannot find a valid reason for denying a claim, such as the accident victim was partially at fault for the crash or liability for the claim is unclear, the company may try to find a reason to lower the value of the claim.
Blaming injuries on previous health conditions or prior accidents is a common way insurance companies attempt to lower the value of an insurance claim. The company reviews the victim’s medical history searching for health conditions, illnesses, or injuries that could be related to the current injury. The company then blames the current injury in whole or in part on the past medical condition to decrease the value of the insurance claim.
Does this tactic work? If the person has retained an experienced California personal injury attorney, the tactic usually does not work. There is case law that supports victims receiving full compensation for current injuries, even if an existing health condition or injury may have contributed to the degree of injury sustained by the victim in the car accident. The legal theory argues that the victim should not be held at fault for any portion of the injury because the other person’s negligence was the cause of the crash.
However, accident victims who do not seek legal counsel before accepting a settlement offer may not be aware that they might be entitled to full compensation.
Contact a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Before you sign any forms for an insurance company or agree to a settlement, talk with one of our personal injury attorneys. Learn about your legal rights and your options for recovering compensation after a car accident from someone who only has your best interests in mind.
Contact our Sacramento car accident attorneys for a free consultation by calling The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website.