Why You Need to Keep Your Medical History Private Following a Truck Accident Injury
It’s important to know that all drivers have a responsibility to those around them to pay attention and drive as safely as possible. However, even the slightest error made by a truck driver can toss that standard of care right out the window. Each year, over 100,000 people are injured or killed as a result of truck accidents.
For those who fall victim to a truck collision, the physical pain of their injuries is only one factor of their trauma. Indeed, these unfortunate souls may also be victimized again by an insurance company’s hanky-panky and medical privacy violations.
Keeping Your Medical Records Private
The steps you take following a truck accident are essential to securing your injury claim. You must be willing to follow the insurance company’s rules without allowing it to take advantage of you. Unfortunately, the balancing act between being accommodating and giving away too much information is quite tricky, especially if you don’t have an experienced lawyer adding his weight to your side.
Often, the insurance company will ask a truck injury victim to undergo a medical exam. At the same time, the insurer will request complete medical history records. If you were the person injured, you can very well receive a “request” from both your own insurance company as well as the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The request is within the insurance companies’ rights. Should you give it? The answer may be both yes and no. You should readily release the records associated with your accident; after all, you can’t expect to settle your claim unless you can provide evidence that you were hurt. However, it’s possible that you’ll want some details in your medical history to remain private, particularly since verifying your accident injuries isn’t the insurance companies’ only goal.
Reasons to Worry About Releasing Your Medical Records After a Truck Accident
Insurance companies will try anything and everything in their power to reduce your settlement options and discredit your claim. “Fishing” around your medical history and pointing out irregularities is one way to question the validity of your claim. These records can provide evidence that your injuries aren’t as bad as you claim, or that they may have stemmed from previous conditions.
If your records show any type of previous injury that could be associated with your current pain, the insurance company and its lawyers will attempt to:
- Scare you into settling. Opposing counsel may seek to obtain your medical records in the discovery process, and you may feel compelled to settle your case early for a smaller amount in order not to release this information.
- Discredit your claim. History of past injuries located near the current injury may cast doubt that your current pain was caused as a direct result of the accident in question. Furthermore, insurance companies are not below using your past psychological history against you. In other words, if you have a history of mental illness (depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.), the opposing counsel may try to use that information against you.
- Argue your previous injuries may have caused you to be at fault for the accident. Previous injuries may suggest that you were unfit to be driving, and therefore may have held some responsibility for the accident.
Privacy Is a Right, But Not Necessarily a Guarantee
There are some people who need access to your complete medical records: the physician treating you and your accident attorney. Your doctor needs to know your history for proper treatment, and your lawyer needs to know your history to fortify your claim.
However, just because your doctor and personal lawyer need all the information, that doesn’t mean you have to give in to the demands of the insurance company. Legally, you’re required to provide the medical records pertaining to the accident in question, not your entire history. The insurance company can request further records, but you have the right to determine if the request is reasonable. If you or your lawyer question the relevancy of the request, you can deny it, claiming that it is a violation of your privacy. In fact, your attorney may ask the court to limit discovery to medical records pertaining to the current claim only.
Unfortunately, as with most things in life, you can’t rely on the system to ensure your rights are being upheld. However, as long as you have a dependable truck accident attorney like Steve Lee at your side, you won’t have to worry about being taken advantage of by the insurance company. Schedule your FREE consultation with us today, and see how we can help you explore your legal options and uphold your privacy rights.
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