In Illinois, if you are injured while performing the duties of your job, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier. These benefits typically include payment for reasonable medical services related to your work injury.
Very often, however, a workers’ compensation insurance company will try to convince an injured worker to sign a release allowing the company to speak to or obtain records from any medical provider that worker has seen, and for any reason whatsoever. At GWC, when our clients ask whether they should sign this medical release, we consistently tell them the same thing: Never without consulting your attorney first.
Are You Releasing Too Much?
Frequently, insurance company releases are overly broad. That is, they do not simply grant the company access to records for a specific period of your treatment from a limited set of medical providers. By signing one of these releases, you might be giving the insurance company permission to speak to any physician, hospital, or medical facility that has treated you from birth to the present day, whether or not that medical treatment was related to your work injury.
Remember, the insurance company is hoping to prove that your injuries are unrelated to your work accident. If the insurance company is successful, it could avoid the costs of your medical treatment, your temporary total disability payments, and any settlement that you would receive for permanent disabilities you may have suffered.
No Right to Speak to Providers
Under the law, the insurance company and your employer are only entitled to see your medical records for your work injury. For this reason, our firm either provides them with releases for the relevant records or approves releases granting them access only to the specific records in question.
The insurance company and your employer do not have the right to access any other materials, nor do they have the right to speak to your medical providers directly. That is why we strongly urge our clients not to sign any agreements granting them permission to do so.
At GWC, we work to help our clients paint as accurate a picture of their work injuries as possible. Signing a release from an insurance company that grants it unlimited access to your medical records and providers can only serve to distort that picture to the potential detriment of your claim.
Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have sustained a work injury, or if you have questions about your rights under the workers’ compensation system in Illinois, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.