Workers’ compensation claims require significant time and, of course, paperwork. You’ll have to complete forms for your employer, for any medical providers that you see, and for the insurance company providing the coverage. While you want to be cooperative and provide the necessary information, you should pay careful attention to what you are signing.
What Forms Should I Sign?
One of the most common forms used with workers’ compensation claims is a Medical Authorization Form, also knows as a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Form. This document gives the insurance companies the right to access your records. The insurer needs copies to verify the details of the workplace injury or illness, so this is a reasonable request. However, read carefully and make sure that you are only giving them access to medical records associated with the current injury.
What Forms Should I Refuse to Sign?
If the insurance company asks you to sign a generic authorization, you should refuse. Blanket access forms may give the company permission to see all of your medical records, even those unrelated to the workers’ compensation injury or illness. Such forms may even allow the company to talk to your medical providers and their staff members without your presence. Here are a few reasons why insurance companies want your complete records, and all of them relate to denying your benefits.
- The insurance company looks for pre-existing conditions so that it can blame the injury on that instead of your job.
- The insurer wants your medical records to look for old injuries from car accidents or something else. The company may try to make a case that your present disability is related to the past incident rather than your employment.
- The insurance company looks for chronic medical conditions that it can use against you as leverage to pressure you into settling your claim for less.
- The insurer looks for evidence of mental health diagnoses that may indicate a tendency to falsify a claim.
- The insurance company reviews your records for any inconsistencies in your accounts of the accident or illness.
Never sign an authorization that gives the insurer access to your complete medical files unless your lawyer advises you to do it.
Where Can I Get Help?
Negotiating the workers’ compensation process can be complex and challenging, and it’s complicated by the fact that the rules vary by state. Seek the services of a knowledgeable and experienced workers compensation lawyer in Wytheville, Virginia who can safeguard your rights and your access to benefits.
Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into workers compensation and what forms to sign and not sign.