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Do Not Let Insurance Adjusters Take Advantage of You

Being in a Georgia automobile accident can be a traumatic experience resulting in catastrophic personal injuries. It is a time where you are vulnerable and need help. Unfortunately, it is also a time where insurance companies, and the adjusters they employee to evaluate claims and limit liability, may seek to take advantage of you. An example is with something as simple as a HIPAA release for medical records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, was created in 1996 by the US Congress to protect the privacy of your health information. The act prohibits your health care providers from releasing your health care information unless you have provided a HIPAA release form.

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After you make an insurance claim, regardless of the extent of the injuries, an insurance adjuster is assigned. One of the first things that adjuster will do is send you a HIPAA authorization form with a letter stating that you need to sign and return the form so that the insurance company can determine the extent of your injuries. I received the identical letter from an adjuster in this morning's mail. The adjuster wrote, "Part of our obligation, as an insurer, is to fully investigate any claim presented. In order to properly evaluate your client's claim, we need your client to both sign and complete the enclosed Medical Authorization form."

The request seems completely reasonable. I put them on notice that my client, who was in an automobile accident in Decatur, Georgia, is pursuing a claim against their insured for injuries as a result of the accident, and they want to verify the extent of injuries. What is wrong with that? What is wrong is that the Medical Authorization form they have provided, and which they normally request, gives them blanket access to all of my client's medical records, regardless of what the treatment was for or when the treatment was given. They have no right to that information.

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What insurance companies need to properly evaluate a claim are the medical records addressing injuries from the accident. They should not be allowed to delve into all of your medical history, and there is no requirement that you let them. You have a right to medical privacy under Georgia law, and no one has a right to obtain your medical records or talk to your doctors unless you let them. The key is to make sure that the relevant records, framed appropriately, are provided to the adjuster to maximize the value of the claim.

So, how am I going to respond to the adjuster who contacted me? I wrote a letter informing her that we would not be providing the Medical Authorization form and that we will gather the relevant medical records. Once we have obtained all of the records, we will fully review them and provide the appropriate materials to the adjuster placed in the correct light.

If you have been in an accident, do not let the insurance companies and their adjusters take advantage of you. While what they do will sound reasonable, often times it is not. If you have been injured in an accident, call a lawyer and protect your rights.

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