Should You Submit Medical Records to the Insurance Company
By Sean Lally, Staff Writer
Dealing with insurance companies is stressful. Something as simple as deciding whether to submit medical records can be overwhelming. It’s easy to forget that, even though we pay top-dollar for insurance, these companies are usually after one thing: profits. To that end, insurance adjusters use various methods to reduce the value of claims and, in some cases, refuse payment altogether. This has been going on for many years, since corporations became subservient to the short-term demands of Wall Street. Adjusters have been known to use the three Ds – deny, delay, defend – in order to minimize their losses.
Speaking about elderly patients, Mary Beth Senkewicz, former executive of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, suggested the following: “The bottom line is that insurance companies make money when they don’t pay claims. They’ll do anything to avoid paying, because if they wait long enough, they know the policyholders will die.”
The Value of an Attorney
So if you’re dealing with a personal injury claim and wondering whether to send medical records to your insurance company (or the the other party’s insurer), you always request the advice of a personal injury lawyer who can help you negotiate with the adjuster. A skilled attorney can help you decide whether to submit medical records to the insurance company because an experienced lawyer understands which records are necessary for the claims process and which are extraneous.
This is important because insurance companies may use superfluous records to build a case against you. For instance, if you were to submit old hospital records, the adjuster might be able to argue that you have a pre-existing condition and that this condition led to the injury in question. Thus, an attorney who has been through this process before can act as a gate keeper for your records, deciding which information makes its way to the adjuster and which is not relevant to the case.
Point of Contact
When you hire an attorney, he or she becomes the main point of contact, thus releasing you from the burdensome duty of dealing with insurance companies. Not only does having an attorney make your life less stressful, it can also potentially speed up the claims process because, once again, a lawyer knows which forms and records are needed to calculate the value of your claim. Your lawyer also understands that insurance adjusters are not selfless servants and that they will do whatever they can to reduce your compensation.
Your Right to Pursue Fair Compensation
It bears repeating that an insurance adjuster may use his own perceived sense of authority to make you believe that thes initial offer is the absolute best offer. It’s imperative to remember that this offer is probably too low and that you have the right to pursue your own investigation. To that end, it is a good idea to have an attorney to facilitate said investigation. Ultimately, it is your right to pursue fair compensation in a court of law in front of a jury of your peers. Again, an attorney can help you decide whether to take your claim to court.
To illustrate the nasty habits of insurance companies, we would do well to remember the revelations in a case involving Allstate Insurance Co. Documents in a court case revealed that the company had, since the mid 90s, utilized unscrupulous tactics to lower the value of claims. Allstate employed a mechanized system that systematically produced low values, and they permitted adjusters to manually offset the calculations. The unsealed documents showed that the adjusters used this tactic because they were pushed by their superiors to reduce claims by 13 percent. The problem was: nearly 90 percent of claimants accepted the low amount.
For this reason, if you want to receive full compensation, it is imperative to seek out the help of a personal injury attorney who understands the turbulent process of dealing with insurance companies.