In order to collect compensation after an accident at work, you need to have your injuries assessed by a medical professional. This medical assessment will provide legitimate documentation of your injuries and establish the basis for your claim, and your employer’s insurance provider will want official records of these examinations. However, they may also have access to more than just that original injury report, and that may lead to issues with your injury claim. We take a closer look at medical record access in Minnesota after a work injury in today’s blog.
The Minnesota Workers Compensation Medical Records Disclosure Act
Normally, medical records can only be obtained from a provider with a person’s consent. There are some exceptions to this standard, and one of the exceptions is when you file a workers’ compensation claim. If you are seeking a workers’ compensation claim in Minnesota, you are effectively granting your employer’s insurance provider with consent to obtain medical records relating to your injury.
The key here is that the records they obtain must be relevant to your work injury, as they can’t just ask for all your medical records. So while this gives you some protection, that doesn’t mean the only medical record they will request is the independent medical exam record that you just received after your work injury.
For example, let’s say that you hurt your back and work and decided to file an injury claim. You go to a doctor and have it examined, and your employer’s insurance provider requests access to your medical records. They may request access to that recent medical exam and any other records that show that you sought treatment for a back injury. If they find out that you suffered a major back injury while skiing a couple years ago, it may influence how they pay out your claim.
It is important to remember that a previous or pre-existing injury will not lead to an automatic rejection of your injury claim, but the insurance provider may attempt to use this information to pay out a smaller claim. This is just one of the reasons why it is so important to have an experienced lawyer by your side during the claims process. Even if you had a related injury in the past, it shouldn’t overshadow the fact that you were legitimately injured during the course of your employment, and as such, you need to be compensated for your injuries.
Minnesota healthcare providers are required to keep patient records for at least seven years, so anything that happened during that period could be accessible by the insurance company if it is relevant to your current injury claim.
You won’t need to do anything in order to give the insurance company consent to review your medical records, just be aware that they may seek out additional medical information that they believe could be relevant to your case. If you know that a previous injury will show up during this review, make it a point to bring it up to your injury lawyer. They’ll want to be aware of this information, but they’ll only act on it should the insurance company try to use a previous injury as a way to discredit your legitimate claim.
For more information about how we can help with your injury claim, or to talk to a lawyer to see if you may have a valid claim, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.
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