Walking After Dark: The Rights of Pedestrians in Nighttime Car Accidents
Posted in: Legal Blog
KNR Legal Blog
Dealing with insurance companies after an injury-causing auto accident can be incredibly stressful. Whether you’re working with your insurance carrier or the at-fault driver’s insurance, you’ll need to navigate a complex insurance process and a lot of paperwork.
One of the many documents they might send is a medical release form or property damage release. At first glance, these forms can look like boilerplate documents, but they can have significant implications for your claim and potential compensation.
Before you sign, here’s a guide to help you navigate this crucial step. If you still have questions, contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in car accidents and success recovering compensation for victims like you.
A medical release form, sometimes referred to as a “medical authorization form,” is a document that insurance companies often request from individuals involved in accidents. This form allows the insurance company to access your medical records related to the accident.
Insurance companies request this form to assess the extent of your injuries and determine the amount of compensation you may be entitled to. They want to verify the medical treatments you’ve received and their associated costs.
While the form grants the insurance company access to your medical records, it’s essential to ensure that the scope is limited only to records related to the accident. You wouldn’t want them prying into unrelated medical information.
If you sign the medical release, you might unknowingly give the insurance company broader access than necessary. They could potentially use unrelated medical history against you, arguing that your injuries were pre-existing or not as severe as you claim.
In most situations, signing a medical release form, especially a blanket form giving access to your entire medical history, is not advisable.
Suppose you experience constant headaches after a brain injury in a car accident, and you sign a blanket release form giving your insurance company permission to see your health history. If there are records of you having a history of headaches, the insurer may claim this condition is not from the accident. They can use this to reduce the payout or deny your claim altogether.
A property damage release is typically presented after car accidents, particularly when vehicles are totaled. By signing, you confirm the insurance company has met its duties, and no further compensation is due. Essentially, you’re agreeing that the insurer has no more financial responsibility towards you.
Before signing or cashing any checks, ensure the compensation is adequate, as you can’t revisit the claim later. If your vehicle isn’t totaled, the insurer will cover only the essential repairs without a release. Always sign only when you’re confident your damages are justly evaluated. An attorney can assist in ensuring the settlement is fair and guide you through the process.
There may be circumstances in which you and your attorney feel comfortable signing a medical release or property damage form. But, you should release information carefully and not without legal advice. You do not have to sign any authorization form. Instead, you can provide only the medical documentation necessary for the insurer to evaluate your injuries and compensation.
The insurance company may try to pressure or rush you into signing quickly; this is a big tell their offer is a lowball. Fortunately, your attorney will help you complete a full and final calculation of your damages, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and ensure you fully understand what is being offered before you accept and settle the claim.
An insurance claim can be confusing, and you’ll probably receive numerous documents. Never sign them until you understand what’s in your best interests.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick. As one of Ohio’s largest and most successful personal injury law firms, we have been helping people through the insurance claim process and securing maximum compensation for over 15 years.
Call 1-800-HURT NOW for a free, no-risk consultation. We’ll explain the law, the insurance process, and what you can expect.