Workers’ Comp Medical Records: Do I Have To Release Them?

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Michigan lawyer discusses reasons why claimants are required to sign workers’ compensation medical records release.

Workers' Comp Medical Records: Do I Have To Release Them?

Our job as workers’ comp lawyers is to protect individuals who are hurt. We do this through knowledge and experience. Understanding legal rights is the key to making sure the employer or its insurance company does not take advantage. A common question that we receive is about the workers’ compensation medical records release.

Many people get nervous when the insurance company starts digging into their medical background. It feels like a violation of their privacy rights. Does the insurance company really have the right to get all workers’ comp medical records? Keep reading below to find out some answers.

Workers’ Comp Medical Records

Michigan workers’ compensation law protects employees who get hurt on-the-job. All reasonable and necessary medical treatment must be paid by either the employer or its insurance company. This includes emergency room visits, doctor appointments, hospital stays, prescriptions, physical therapy, durable medical equipment, surgery, and even home medications.

Insurance companies review medical records to determine if treatment is reasonable and necessary. It provides a snapshot of how an employee got hurt and what medical treatment is needed. Bills should be paid 100% without any co-pays or deductibles being owed.

Sometimes an insurance company goes back even further. Medical records from years earlier are requested to determine if a person has any preexisting condition. Medical records can also be used to dispute workers’ comp benefits if they show a claimant has not been truthful.

Physician-patient privilege is generally waived if an employee is relying upon medical records/testimony to support his or her workers’ comp claim. Additionally, privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) generally do not apply to workers’ comp insurance claims.

Workers’ comp medical records are an “open book” for the insurance company but this does give them a blank check to speak with a treating doctor. It is important to have a lawyer to ensure that workers’ comp rules are being followed. This is especially true when a nurse case manager has been assigned to the claim. Watch out for attempts to change work restrictions or medical treatment plans.

Independent Medical Examination (IME)

Michigan law permits an insurance company to have a claimant examined by a doctor of its own choosing at the IME. Workers’ comp medical records will be obtained and shared for this purpose. These doctors are not independent and make careers out of testifying against disabled employees. Expect to be asked about prior injuries and preexisting conditions. Insurance companies refer to these examinations as second opinions, but they are not.

It is common to see IME reports that say no additional medical treatment is needed or disability was not caused by job in the first place. This happens months or years after the initial workers’ comp claim. Biased medical opinions should always be challenged in workers’ comp court. Deposition testimony from a treating doctor can be used to show a claimant needs additional medical treatment and/or is still disabled.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

How To File A Workers’ Comp Claim in Michigan

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Author Bio Jeffrey Kaufman

Author
Jeffrey E. Kaufman
Michigan Workers Comp Attorney

Jeffrey E. Kaufman has extensive experience in workers compensation cases and has recovered millions of dollars in benefits for his clients. He believes all injured workers deserve to be on equal footing with insurance companies and employers, and fights tenaciously so their rights are secured and protected.


“Jeff also helped me with getting my Blue Cross bills paid. I would absolutely recommend him and the whole firm. Jeff and the firm did everything they were supposed to do for me and my case.”
Ricardo Perfetto

Hundreds of 5-Star Reviews

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Get Help From our Michigan Workers’ Comp Lawyers Today

You’re not alone. Our Michigan workers’ comp lawyers have been called the best in the state, and our clients love how they’re treated with care, respect, and responsiveness. We will give you the time you need, we will explain your legal rights, and we will always treat you with respect.

Our workers’ compensation and Social Security disability lawyers always put your needs first. Get to know your legal team.

Our attorneys post regularly about common issues related to workers’ comp, including common injuries, settlement calculations, laws, and more.

Injured? It’s Time to Get Some Answers

Don’t let the insurance adjuster push you around. Request your free consultation today.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Our attorneys post regularly about common issues related to workers’ comp, including common injuries, settlement calculations, laws, and more.

Our workers’ compensation and Social Security disability lawyers always put your needs first. Get to know your legal team.