If you’ve been involved in a Virginia car accident, it’s likely that the other driver’s insurance company will reach out to you and ask that you give a recorded statement and sign a medical or HIPAA release. They will try to convince you that this is in your best interest to quickly resolve your claim. Here’s our thoughts on what you should do.
Don’t sign anything and don’t agree to anything.
For Virginia car accident cases, you typically have two (2) years to file a lawsuit. (Learn more about Virginia statute of limitations here). What this means is that you have time, and you don’t need to make any quick decisions.
Before you speak to any adjustor or sign anything, our recommendation is to reach out to an attorney to be advised of your rights. If you’re worried about how much it will cost to speak to an attorney, most provide Free Consultations for accident cases.
What’s wrong with signing a HIPAA Release?
First, you’re not required to sign one to pursue a Virginia car accident case. If you choose to pursue a claim, you will likely provide relevant medical records and bills to demonstrate your injuries. After all, they will have a right to investigate your claim.
However, the typical HIPAA Release the car insurance company will ask you to sign will be very broad and will include records that have nothing to do with your accident. And, to be clear, the insurance company will attempt to use any records they can to minimize your claim. Remember, they are not your friends.
Instead, if you hire us, we will collect your relevant medical records and bills. We will then create a full Demand Package using those documents to present a persuasive demand for settlement to increase the chances of your case settling without the need for trial.
What about giving a recorded statement?
Our answer remains the same – you’re not required to provide one, and they will use it against you if they can. Given that, we’d recommend not providing statements to the other driver’s insurance. Instead, we’d recommend you say something to the effect of, “look, I was just injured and am treating and considering hiring a lawyer. I’ll have that attorney reach out when I’m ready to talk.”
You need not be confrontational or defensive. Any good adjuster will understand that this is an absolutely reasonable position to take. If they don’t, they aren’t a reasonable adjuster, and you can politely just end the call.
Should we choose to work together, we will be the ones to provide your version of events to the adjuster, in written form.
What if I already signed the form and gave the statement?!
While we prefer that you don’t, stuff happens. So, there’s no need to stress out. If we work together, we will tell the insurance company that your HIPAA Release is revoked. And we will do our best to minimize the use of your recorded statement, to the extent that it is harmful to your case.
At Abrenio Law, we understand that no case is perfect. We’ve had countless cases where we’ve had to “change course.” If you’ve already given a statement or signed a HIPAA, just give us a call and we can discuss how it may affect your case.
Still have questions about your case?
Make sure to check out our Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Practice Pages where we’ve answered many other questions you likely have. James Abrenio is a Fairfax-Based Personal Injury & Criminal Defense attorney who practices throughout Northern Virginia. You can learn more about James Abrenio, some of our Prior Results, and Read Our Reviews. Make sure to contact us at Ph. 703-570-4180 for your Free Consultation.