Don't sign a release without consulting an attorney | Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury LawyerWhether you were hurt in a vehicle collision, slip and fall, or some other type of accident, you can expect to deal with major medical bills and life-changing symptoms from a brain injury. To recover compensation for those costs, you will likely end up talking to the at-fault party’s insurance provider at some point. Before cutting a check, that provider will need to see proof you were injured and that the wound was caused by the accident. This is where things can get tricky and an attorney becomes an absolute necessity to get the full amount you are owed.

Why You Shouldn’t Sign a Medical Record Release

You’ve probably already heard about HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and know that it protects your personal info and prevents doctors from sharing your medical history. Because of HIPAA laws, a company like an insurance provider has to request you sign a waiver to gain access to medical documentation. They can’t simply look the information up without your permission.

Obviously, you want to prove to an insurance adjuster that you were hurt so you can receive a settlement for your injury’s costs. There’s a big catch, however. Having insurance is important to protect yourself in the event of a catastrophe, but you have to keep in mind how insurance actually operates. Insurance providers are businesses first and foremost. Just like any other type of business, their goal is to make a profit by cutting costs and spending as little money as possible. 

Unfortunately, this means there are several ways an insurance adjuster may attempt to trip you up and refuse a payout you are owed. The insurance adjuster’s job is to look for reasons to reduce or deny your claim, such as by using irrelevant medical history to claim your injury occurred in the past. The same is true of social media posts and videos or pictures you upload to your personal profile. Even completely innocent family photos may be taken out of context so the insurer can argue you aren’t actually injured or aren’t as hurt as you claim.

Let Your Personal Injury Attorney Deal With the Insurance Company

The bottom line is that you should not provide a recorded statement or sign a broad release of your full medical records directly after the accident. If asked, politely decline and let the adjuster know you are consulting with your legal counsel before making any decisions. 

Instead of immediately signing anything, allow your attorney to provide the details that are needed and craft a more limited release that only includes the records pertinent to the claim. If an emergency room visit for an unrelated issue years ago has no bearing on your brain injury, the insurance company simply doesn’t need to see those records. Additionally, your attorney will investigate the accident to make sure you have all the evidence you need to prove negligence and show the at-fault party is responsible for your brain injury.

Your best bet is to let a legal professional handle medical records issues for you to avoid costly mistakes. Your attorney will also negotiate with insurance so the company takes into account your full costs, like:

  • Wages lost while recovering in the hospital as well as future losses if you can’t go back to work
  • The intense pain and suffering often resulting from a traumatic brain injury
  • Medical bills, including a hospital stay after the original accident, any medications or therapies you require, and any future surgeries or treatments that may be necessary

Finally, it’s important to understand that a traumatic brain injury attorney isn’t just there to talk to the insurance company, but also to potentially file a lawsuit to ensure the statute of limitations doesn’t expire while negotiations are ongoing. 

Get in Touch With an Experienced Attorney Before Signing Anything

Always talk to a lawyer after any serious injury, especially when dealing with catastrophic issues like brain or spinal cord damage. You want someone on your side with experience in these kinds of cases to ensure your legal rights are protected. Call to set up a free consultation with The Mottley Law Firm before signing anything or providing a recorded statement to an insurer. 

Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims