Can auto insurance pull information from an old workers comp claim?

by Anonymous
(Houston, TX)

My husband and I are trying to settle on an auto accident. The auto insurance company is trying to tell us that they're reviewing my husband's 8 year old workers comp case that has been closed for years.

Can they pull medical info on that workers comp case without our signature? What can we do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can auto insurance pull information from an old workers comp claim?":

Anonymous (Houston, TX):

The answer to your question is “It depends”. Without a specific Medical Waiver or Medical Release of Information no one is permitted to see any of your husband’s medical information.

With that said, if by chance the insurance company handling your husband’s new automobile accident is the same carrier which handled his previous Workmans Compensation Claim, it is altogether possible they could have accessed their previous file and the information in it. If that's the case, what the insurance company is now saying may be unfair but it also may be entirely legal.

Any medical information the insurance company gathered during the initial Workmans Compensation Claim would have to be gathered only after he signed a very specific medical release. Without medical reports, charts, diagnoses, prognoses, medical bills, and the like, an insurance company has no basis upon which to pay a claim.

Your husband may remember signing a medical release at or about the time of his Workmans Compensation injury. That could also have been the method in which the insurance company acquired his medical information. The insurance company now handling the claim has no legal right to access any of your husband’s medical information from any other source other than its own in-house files containing duly-executed medical releases.

If the insurance company accessed your husband’s medical information improperly they may have violated a relatively new 1996 federal law referred to as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). A violation of HIPPA has substantial and adverse consequences to the violator(s).

It's important for you to check to see that the insurance companies are the same. If they are not we suggest you immediately contact a Personal Injury Attorney in your area. These attorneys are skilled and most are highly trained in these areas.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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