Wait! Don’t sign anything from the insurance adjuster
If you were injured in a Seattle auto accident, you may be asked by the other party’s insurance adjuster to sign a medical authorization form. The adjuster might make this seem like a routine, harmless form. But you should always be wary of what the insurance company wants you to do, and the possible consequences of signing this form illustrate this perfectly.
Pay close attention to the language of the medical authorization form. Does the form grant the insurance company access to only the medical information that pertains to your claim? When, if ever, does the insurance company’s access to your information expire?
Often these medical forms may give the insurance company unrestricted access to your medical records. Besides being a privacy concern, this can damage your claim — the insurance company can then search your medical records for things they can spin into alternative explanations for your symptoms. For example, the insurance company may try to claim that a doctor’s visit about back pain a year before your accident suggests that your pain is chronic, and therefore the defendant is not liable for your injuries.
Furthermore, you should watch out for attempts to pressure you into signing the form without asking those questions. The insurance adjuster might claim that you are legally required to cooperate in order to make a claim, but this is false. The “cooperation clause” that insurance adjusters refer to only applies to the insured. As a claimant, you are not required to sign any such form in order to claim damages.
Refuse to sign anything that would give the insurance company full access to your medical history. If possible, try to have the insurance company’s access limited to only documents that explicitly pertain to your claim, expiring upon completion of the claim. The most important thing to remember is that the insurance company always puts its own interests before your own. If any insurance company, even your own, can find a way to pay you less than what you deserve, they will take it.
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