Car accidents are a leading cause of both serious injury and death in the U.S. In fact, roughly 38,000 Americans die and another 4.4 million suffer bodily harm in car crashes every single year. Even though car accidents are common, you may never have been through one.
Following an accident, an insurer may try to take advantage of your inexperience by asking you to sign a blanket medical authorization. Like anything else, you should not sign this authorization until you understand all its consequences for three reasons.
1. The insurer obtains all your medical information
During your life, you may have seen a physician countless times for minor ailments, serious injuries or something else. You may also have undergone surgery or therapy. If you sign a blanket medical authorization, the insurer may access all your medical information. This is true even if your medical history has little or nothing to do with the accident or your injuries.
2. The insurer may blame a pre-existing injury
Not only do car accidents cause new injuries, but they also often aggravate existing ones. If you sign a blanket authorization, the insurer may use your pre-existing condition to deny your claim or to offer you a low settlement. Consequently, it is usually better to provide specific medical details that are relevant to your claim.
3. You have a right to privacy
Your medical records likely include sensitive information about you. Even if you have nothing to hide, you have a right to privacy. Letting an insurer access your medical history waives this right. Put simply, you may want to keep private details private.
Ultimately, you probably need to give the insurer access to some medical records. Signing a blanket authorization, though, is not likely to help either your accident claim or your recovery.