What Is A Medical Release?
A medical release is a document that allows another person to obtain your medical records. These forms are required because your medical records are confidential, and your medical providers will not share this information unless they are provided a form that you signed giving permission to release your records.
Why Do Insurer's Want Medical Releases?
When you are injured because of someone else's careless behavior, you have a claim for your losses and harms. Lawyers call these losses "damages." In an injury claim, there are two categories of damages: Economic and Non-economic. Economic damages are things that can be objectively verified, like medical expenses and lost income. Non-economic damages are damages to compensate you for the loss of your health. Some people have heard of "pain and suffering." These are two aspects of non-economic damages, but there are many others.
Insurer's want your medical records so they can evaluate your claim to make an offer of settlement. Many insurers, especially in auto injury claims, will feed the diagnostic and billing codes it finds in your records into a computer program to calculate an offer of settlement. Insurers are looking to reduce your injury to some kind of formula. This cannot be avoided, but you should be the one to obtain and provide these records. Why?
First, the liability carrier's release forms cover all medical records, not just the ones for the injuries involved in your claim. Although we have not seen this happen, a medical release may even allow the insurer to speak to your doctor. There is no need for that.
The truth is that at one point, you or your attorney are going to provide medical records to the insurer to evaluate the case, or if the case is filed in court, to the attorney representing the at fault party.
But I Already Signed One!
It's not the end of the world. Many of our clients have already signed a medical release when they come to see us. We will revoke the release, which you can do as well, and request any medical records the insurer obtained with the release.
When Do I Sign A Release?
In an Oregon auto injury claim, your insurance company provides personal injury protection, or "PIP" benefits. These benefits cover medical expenses, and if you qualify, disability benefits. Your insurance company will send you an application for benefits, which includes a medical release. Because you have an agreement with the insurance company, you must sign this release, so the insurance adjuster can obtain your medical records and pay your bills. Those records are not shared with the other insurance company.
We help people facing these issues every day, so if you have questions, contact us. We can help you know where you stand.