If you have been injured in an accident in New Jersey that was someone else’s fault, you might be eligible to file a claim for compensation. In order for that claim to be successful, you and your lawyers will need to have access to your medical records. Medical records are vital to personal injury claims because they are one of the main pieces of evidence used to prove the type of injury you suffered, the extent of the injury, and the medical treatment you have needed or will need to receive in the future.
Here is everything you need to know about requesting your medical records for a New Jersey personal injury claim.
How Are Medical Records Used in a Personal Injury Claim?
While you are in the process of negotiating a settlement with an insurance company, they will require you to share your medical records with them so that they can see:
- What injuries you have received
- Your medical professional’s determination of what caused the injuries
- Treatments you have had and will require in the future
- How long the injury is expected to affect your health
If your claim becomes a lawsuit, the judge and possibly a jury will need to see your medical records for the same reasons.
Keep in mind that an insurance company may have an additional requirement that you have an independent medical examination with a doctor of their choosing so that they can confirm the diagnosis and prognosis your own doctor has made.
How to Obtain Your Medical Records
Your right to see and obtain copies of your medical records is federally protected by the HIPAA Act. Contact your healthcare provider and let them know the exact medical records you wish to obtain. You will also need to provide them with your name, address, phone number, date of birth, and the dates of treatment. Some healthcare providers require that you put record requests in writing. The provider must respond to your request for records within 30 days of receiving it. These records may be in paper or electronic format, and you may request the records in whole or in part.
In New Jersey, healthcare providers are generally barred from releasing your records unless you give them explicit permission to do so. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to handle record requests that insurance companies make, and they can also keep track of the records that are associated with the treatment you are receiving for your accident-related injury. They can also assist you in protecting your data.
Protecting Your Data from Insurance Adjusters
It is common for insurance adjusters to make repeated requests for your medical records while you are in the process of negotiating a personal injury settlement. It’s important to note that they may be attempting to access irrelevant information relating to pre-existing conditions or other data that they may use as an excuse to devalue your claim. When dealing with an insurance adjuster, keep the following in mind:
- Ask them why they need the records.
- Demand that the insurance company pay for the medical records. There is often a fee associated with obtaining copies of your records.
- Consult with your personal injury lawyer about the nature of the request. They can let you know whether the request is reasonable and can communicate with the insurance company if necessary.
- Never consent to allow the insurance company to obtain your medical records. You should always obtain the records yourself or authorize your lawyer to do so for you.
- Always review your records in consultation with your personal injury attorney to make sure they are correct before sending them to the insurance adjuster.
- Never send old or irrelevant medical records to an insurance company, as they will simply use them as a way of trying to deny your claim.
Always remember that your medical records contain valuable data and that you should know your rights and take steps to protect yourself.
Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney
Attempting to handle a personal injury claim on your own can be overwhelming. Insurance adjusters do not always act in good faith when it comes to your personal data, and it is important that you do everything you can to keep your claim as strong as possible. The seasoned New Jersey personal injury attorneys of Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to handle all the necessary aspects of your claim and protect your best interests. Call us today at (973) 364-8300 or contact us online for a free consultation to see how we can help you.