While there are numerous fender benders every year in the U.S., many individuals suffer life-altering injuries in serious car crashes. In fact, the Association for Safe International Road Travel estimates 4.4 million Americans annually require emergency medical care after motor vehicle accidents.
If you suffer an injury in a car accident, you may be able to file an insurance claim. When investigating or processing your claim, an adjuster may ask you to sign a blanket medical authorization. There are three potential problems with doing so.
1. The authorization is broad
A blanket medical authorization allows insurers to look at all your medical records. This may be true even if these records have little or nothing to do with your insurance claim. Consequently, adjusters may see documentation from every doctor you have ever seen. They may also find out about previous injuries, illnesses, medical procedures and medications.
2. The authorization strips your medical privacy
Medical privacy is a fundamental principle in the American health care system. Put simply, you have a right to keep private medical matters private. Even if you have nothing to hide, giving an insurer full access to your medical records may make you feel uneasy.
3. The authorization may provide cover
To be profitable, insurance companies often either must pay as little as possible for claims or deny them outright. If something in your medical records reveals a pre-existing condition, an adjuster may use your blanket medical authorization as cover to deny your claim or give you a low settlement offer.
While there certainly are some valid reasons to give medical information to an insurer, signing a blanket medical authorization may be a bad idea. Therefore, before you make any statements to an insurer or sign any insurance company forms, you must understand all possible consequences of your actions.