I often am hired to represent a client several months after the accident. The client has already signed a medical authorization for the insurance company to obtain medical records. Medical and personal issues that an individual would not disclose to anyone but their doctor are now open for scrutiny.
I then send the insurance company a letter canceling the medical authorization and requesting them to send me all records obtained from the authorization. Over the years, here is what I have found:
1. The insurance company has obtained highly personal records unrelated to the accident. Subject matter such as long ago miscarriages, abortions, suicide attempts, marital problems, etc. is now in the hands of the insurance company.
2. The client has no control over what happens to this information. Is this information left in the auto accident file or put in a national database of accident claimants? You simply do not know.
3. This highly personal information is used to discredit you as an injured claimant. Our policy is to obtain all of the relevant, current and prior, medical records. If some of the information is deemed not relevant and highly personal, we discuss these issues confidentially with our client.
We will only sign authorizations to the other side if we have first reviewed the records ourselves and discussed the matter with our client. We will attempt to obtain a court order to exclude disclosure of medical records that are not relevant to the accident and are highly personal.
The lesson is to not blindly sign a blank medical authorization that will both harm your case and your right to privacy.