08192017Headline:

Vancouver, Washington

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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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Why signing a medical release is a bad idea after an accident

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You know the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Miss Hood is skipping through the woods on the way to Granny’s house with her basket of goodies, when along the way she gets lost and meets a wolf in proverbial sheep’s clothing. The wolf offers to help Miss Hood, inquires about her poor sick Granny, and seems to have only the little girl’s best interests at heart. In short, it goes like this: Red is vulnerable, Wolf seems nice, Red trusts Wolf. Even though everything she knows about wolves should lead her to be wary, being all alone in the woods changes her perception, and before she knows it, she is giving the stranger all of her personal information. He now knows where Granny lives, how feeble she is, what time Red is getting to the house, and exactly what Red has in her picnic basket. He has all the information he needs to take advantage of both girl and grandma and get a free basket of food in the bargain.

This is how it can feel after an accident. One minute you’re going down the road with your assets tucked safely away in the metaphorical picnic basket, but if you become injured, you suddenly face a lot of confusion and pressures to sign waivers, releases, and other documents that may not be in your best interests. One example is a medical release. After an accident, insurance companies can pressure you to sign forms that will allow the other driver’s insurer to access your private medical records at will. It is important not to sign anything that is not given to you by a medic or your own insurance company. Moreover, it gives the other party the right to speak with your physician without having you present. It is possible that the release could even be sent to your health insurance provider, forcing them to provide your previous claim records. All of this information could potentially be used to deny you proper compensation after an accident.

Before signing away your rights and giving Granny’s address to the other party, consult an attorney who can advise you of the best course of action. If this is not possible, at least contact your adjustor and request official documentation from the responsible party’s insurance company stating that they will pay all damages and medical expenses from the accident. Bear in mind that many companies are likely to deny your request, so it is wise to seek legal counsel if you are being pressured to submit a medical release. That’s the best way to keep your assets in the right basket, safe from wolfish eyes.