Woodburn, OR asked in Car Accidents and Personal Injury for Oregon

Q: May an auto insurance provider require all of my medical records for the last 15 years to process injury claim?

I was a passenger in an auto that was rear ended. My friend's auto insurance is covering under personal injury protection while pursuing the at fault driver's insurance for reimbursement. My friend's auto insurance is demanding that I sign a consent to disclose "any and all of my health and medical data, information, billings and records... including information relating to psychiatric conditions, AIDS/HIV and/or drug or alcohol abuse/treatment." Then they state that "as a result of this authorization, there is the potential for my disclosed Patient Information to no longer be protected by the federal patient privacy rules." So because I was rear ended I am sending 15 years of my medical records to an entity that admits they can't/won't certify that they will remain private otherwise I am being uncooperative? Is this something a personal injury attorney can help with and should I seek one immediately?

4 Lawyer Answers
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Hillsboro, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Since it is not your insurance, you do not have to cooperate in this way. In fact, it is in your best interest not to, since much of this would likely end up in the hands of the other insurance company. The reason that is bad, is you have a case against the driver of the other car for more than just the medical bills, as you can collect pain and suffering, lost income, and some other things.

You should find a local personal injury attorney ASAP and stop talking to the insurance company.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Wyomissing, PA

A: I somewhat disagree. If a company is providing the medical benefits (sometimes called PIP or First Party coverage), then they do have a right to look at the medical records for the bills they are being asked to cover. Most courts give them a limited right to get pre-crash records. However, many companies go beyond this--I've seen authorizations that allow the company to speak with (interrogate) your doctors personally! Won't the doctor like that!

So what you need to do is, as you were a passenger and blameless, is get a free consultation from a memter of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.

I would advise not signing the authorization as written.

This type of insurance company skeeviness is why you need to talk to a lawyer.

Joanne Reisman agrees with this answer

Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Yes absolutely you need to get an attorney to help you immediately. These days insurance companies are very aggressive whether they are administering PIP under your insurance policy or offering to settle a personal injury case for the defendant driver. They will definitely try to take advantage of you if you are not represented. It keeps more money in their pockets and makes their stock holders happy.

That doesn't sound right. You are going after PIP which is automatic coverage for the driver and all passengers in the car you were riding in and available regardless of who is at fault. Usually you only need to sign an authorization for the medical records that relate to your treatment for the accident and you should be able to limit the authorization to what is relevant for that purpose. It sounds like they are just using a very broad HIPPA form to see if they can get away with it. They might be able to request your earlier medical history if there is some question about whether or not your current injury is caused by the accident, but I don't see any reason to ask for the history without some concern being raised first. (FYI - You can call the Oregon Insurance Commissioner's office and ask them about this: 1-503-947-7982. They can also help you deal with the insurance company. But I would just hire an attorney for the entire case and be done with it. You are going to need to do this anyway.)

Mr.  Gary R. Johnson
Mr. Gary R. Johnson
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Bend, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: This is typical of insurance companies. I do not allow insurance companies to have records of my client's prior medical treatment that is not related to the injuries my client sustained in the accident. Unfortunately, many people simply signed these authorizations allowing the insurance companies to get all of their medical records.

Under Oregon law, medical records from before an accident for treatment of the same body part injured in the accident or for the same condition suffered in the accident are generally deemed discoverable.

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