close-up of medical records release formVirginia is an “at-fault” state, meaning if you are involved in a car accident, the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying damages incurred as a result of the accident. This can include not only the repair or replacement of your vehicle but also medical bills for doctor and hospital visits, payment for missed time from work, and more. These costs are paid out by the auto insurance carrier of the person who caused the accident.

But insurance companies are not out to spend money. They will go to great lengths to reduce or eliminate any costs involved in a car accident claim. This is why working with an experienced Virginia car accident attorney is important. They can prevent you from making a mistake that could reduce the amount of damages you are entitled to receive under Virginia law when someone else is at fault in an accident.

What Is a Medical Release Form?

A medical release form is used to request patient records from a doctor, hospital, or other health care facility. It gives permission for all of your medical history to be provided to the third party requesting the information.

Medical records can be incredibly comprehensive and can include a lifetime of records of various injuries, illnesses, tests, and even your mental health history. It can include immunization records of shots you have received and tests you’ve taken, such as an HIV test.

Should I Sign a Medical Release Form?

In a car accident case, the other party’s insurance company has a right to review medical records related to injuries you sustained as a result of the accident to verify the costs and details of those expenses—but that’s it. If an insurance company tries to get you to sign a medical release form, do not sign it. Instead, contact your accident lawyer immediately.

A medical release form will give them the power to access ALL of your medical records throughout your life, not just records related to the accident. Information provided about your entire health history can be used by the insurance company to try to reduce or eliminate their costs. They could, for example, claim that your records show that you have preexisting conditions—medical conditions and expenses that existed before the accident, and argue that your medical expenses are related to or because of those conditions and are not because of the accident. They can even hold your mental health history against you and use that to claim that their insured driver was not at fault for the accident.

All of your medical history can and will be used by the insurance company to try to reduce their claim. This is why you should never sign a form giving the insurance company access to all of your medical records.

If you have already signed a form like this, permission can be revoked, and your attorney can work to minimize the impact of the information already provided.

What Records to Provide in a Virginia Car Accident

Your Virginia auto accident attorney can guide you on exactly what records can and should be provided to the insurance company as part of your car accident claim. They can help protect you and your personal information from being used against you to reduce the amount of damages you can recover for your case. An experienced lawyer knows all of the different tactics and language an insurance company will use to try to pressure you to settle for less than what you deserve and can stop those efforts in their tracks.

Andrew Thomas
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Civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

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Working with Andrew and his team has been--without exception--one of the most pleasant, productive, and professional experiences of my adult life. I was seriously injured in an accident in July, 2018, in Virginia. I was driving a company vehicle that was registered in Maryland, for a company that was based in Wisconsin. And I live in New Jersey, where my personal vehicles are insured. The several jurisdictions involved presented a very unique case that demanded an experienced and nuanced strategy. I found Andrew Thomas (of Dulaney, Lauer, & Thomas) through some online research. And it is noteworthy that Andrew has worked the other side of the aisle--he used to work with insurance companies. Andrew took on my case with the assurance that he would work it with no less energy than he does each of his cases. At each turn, and with each question I had, Andrew and Paralegal Misty kept me informed, returned my calls, provided detailed explanations, and kept me feeling like I was in the loop and there was an eventual end to our journey. Nearly five years after the accident, we settled out of court for a significant sum in recognition of my personal injuries. The settlement was much more than I had expected. And without Andrew & Misty, I am sure the award would have been much less. If you are looking for professionalism, knowledge, dedication, answerability, responsiveness, integrity, and human-level communication from a personal injury attorney--look no further. You have found him. Thank you, Andrew and Misty. Gary Daley
I'm grateful for all your work . . . Roger V. (Remington, VA)