Why you should NEVER sign Defense Base Act insurance company Release, Medical Release, Medical Authorizations and Medical Records Forms
Should I sign a Release and/or Medical Release or a medical authorization for medical records in my Defense Base Act case?
This is one of the reccurring questions and/or scenarios in a Defense Base Act case. Signing forms given to you by the DBA insurance company can really screw up your case.
I realize that this is long article for some folks. But if you are even thinking about signing any of the "forms" from the DBA insurance company that releases your records, I strongly suggest that you STOP right now. Do not sign anything!!!
If you don't believe me, at the end of this article, I discuss at length the releases that AIG (the DBA insurance company) asked the Claimant (read: injured overseas civilian contractor) to sign who was injured in Afghanistan while working for Aegis.
The BRB (the Court of Appeal) went off on why the release was unfair to the Claimant. This case demonstrates WHY you should not sign any releases. Period.
What is a Medical Records Release or a Medical Record Authorization?
First of all, a medical records release / medical record authorization is a document that the DBA insurance company asks the claimant (read: you) to sign in order to give the insurance company access to your medical records. You may also hear this referred to as a HIPAA release.
However, as I will explain more in this article - usually the "medical release" is so broad that it allows the DBA insurance company to get your psychological records, alcohol records, drug treatment records, school records, credit reports, airline records, hotel records, employment records, and much, much more. It is usually much more that a "medical release."
Let’s put this all in perspective ..... the big picture
Say, you’re an overseas civilian contractor. Maybe you work in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Marshall Islands, Germany, Antarctica, Qatar, Puerto Rico, Japan, Kosovo, Israel, Bahamas or anywhere around the world.
You have an injury. You then have a Defense Base Act case. You’re in a new world now, whether you realize it or not. And, whether you realize it or not there is danger at your door. Not physical danger as you may have faced when you’re in theater. This kind of danger is economic danger.
And the danger you face is you and your family’s economic future. And the enemy now is the Defense Base Act Insurance company. If you have had a more recent injury than you’re looking at having to deal with AIG / Insurance Company of the State of Penn., Allied World, Starr Indemnity, Continental Casualty, CNA, ACE / ESIS, American, Arch and/or Old Republic.
The insurance company is not your friend.
“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S. I want it straight up, with no double talk. No sugarcoating lawyer talk, and no double talk - just old fashioned, unsweetened, unvarnished truth.” -Bill Turley
My best advice
My best advice to you is for you always to tell the truth with your Defense Base Act claim.
Here are some of the dozens and dozens of 5 Star Reviews of my book Win Your Defense Base Act Case on amazon.com:
5.0 out of 5 stars
DBA case: It's a Chess game, not checkers.
June 15, 2017
"In 2014 I could not return to work. It is 2017 now and I have just won my DBA case.
Bill Turleys book “Win Your Defense Base Act Case” was essential to my successful DBA insurance claim and settlement.
The candidness and honesty in this book must be reciprocated by you; you must tell the truth always and never lie about anything related to your work related injuries; you will be facing an army of paid professionals employed by the DBA insurance company that will try to discredit you; this is by design and it is normal practice so do not take personal offense from this. My insurance adjuster was good at his job. He reminded me of the guy who tried to sell me a timeshare many years ago. This is not a stab at him, it’s a stab at the job that does not have your best interest at heart.
I would like to say thank you to Mr. Turley for writing this book."
5.0 out of 5 stars
I will recommend this book wholehearted to any one who is looking ...
July 10, 2016
This book is a must read! Mr. Turley has shared professional experiences, predications and the lack of interest the big insurance companies have for injured workers. The book is laid out in a way that you do not require a law degree to understand it. He "truly" wrote the book to educate overseas workers who have been injured while supporting the War Fighter. I will recommend this book wholehearted to any one who is looking to understand the difficulties and uncertainties of working with the insurance companies and it's representatives. And discovering the importance of having the right legal representation... Thank you for helping me! It's life changing for me and my family.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fantastic book I wish I have read this book before ...
October 14, 2015
Fantastic book I wish I have read this book before hiring an attorney for my DBA case to all who are looking for a DBA attorney please guys Mr Bill Turley who wrote this book is a fantastic attorney who really worked hard for my case also please don't forget to read this book before deciding to hire an attorney.
You don't have to believe me. Review after review on amazon.com will strongly suggest that you read my book before you talk to the DBA insurance adjuster, sign any forms, give any statements and even hire the wrong lawyer. Reading my book now is going to help you keep from making a common mistake that will tank your DBA case.
It’s up to you - but I guarantee reading my book Win Your Defense Base Act Case is going to save you a lot of stress, heartache and keep you from doing things that folks with legitimate claims do all the time in order to mess up their DBA case. It is going to help you get the money that you and your family deserve.
How you deal with the DBA insurance company adjuster is one of the most important issues that will determine whether you get DBA benefits or you don’t get DBA benefits
Not to suggest that you should be mean or short with them. Always be polite and nice. Never lose your temper. I cover all of this in my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.
The short answer is it’s time to lawyer-up.
These are trained professionals that are trained to get you to make mistake to harm your case.
Why you shouldn’t sign a Defense Base Act insurance company Medical Release and/or DBA Medical Authorizations
What you need to realize is that the DBA insurance company is never looking for reasons to provide you benefits. They are always looking for reasons to deny your DBA claim. I know I sound cynical, but this is the voice of experience talking here. I’ve been doing this for a very long time.
I know it sounds so reasonable when the DBA insurance company adjuster says that they just need a copy of your medical records. They need it to support your claim. They need it to provide you benefits or to continue to provide you benefits. Not. Not even close.
“But my DBA benefits will be cut-off if I hire a lawyer or don’t sign the medical release authorization...”
Many folks seem to think that their DBA benefits might be cut-off or they won’t get DBA benefits if they hire a lawyer. While this is understandable that you might think this, it is very wrong. Hiring the right, honest, best DBA lawyer is going to be the number one reason you are going to end up getting all of the benefits you are entitled to under the law.
I am not suggesting that you have to hire me. I am suggesting that you need to hire a very good, honest DBA lawyer. Don’t think you need a lawyer that is close to where you live. Most DBA lawyers that are good have national and world-wide practices. Meaning they routinely represent people that live across the USA and the world.
“But the DBA insurance adjuster says I have to sign medical authorizations” and other outright lies - - a quick case study - the Aegis/ AIG case
A recent 2018 case is illustrative of this point. This is a case where the Claimant (the overseas civilian contractor) worked for Aegis Defense Services (I have had many Aegis cases) and the DBA insurance company is AIG / Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania ( I have been dealing with AIG for years).
Remember, a DBA case is a court case. The way this works is the DBA insurance company has to first request medical records from you. This is a great example of why you need a lawyer. Because your lawyer is now going first obtain your medical records and then provide your medical records to the the insurance company.
It is very important that this procedure be followed.
If you provide your medical records to the insurance company - they the insurance company can't make you sign a medical release/ medical authorization.
As the BRB (the court of appeal) stated in the recent case Aegis/ AIG case. as the court held:
If the administrative law judge finds that claimant has acted in good faith by producing his relevant medical records and employer has not shown the likely existence, relevance, and necessity of the additional requested medical information, the medical release forms are unnecessary, and the administrative law judge should deny employer’s motion to compel.
The court went on to state:
The inquiry for compelling a claimant to sign a medical release form during discovery is whether the employer can “establish a reasonable inference of the existence of additional relevant records” that have not been provided.
In this Aegis/ AIG case the court denied the insurance company’s request to order the claimant to sign Releases. As I explain herein below - the Releases in the Aegis/ AIG were ridiculously over broad and unfair.
What this means for you is that you shouldn’t sign releases, medical authorizations and medical records
The reason why this is the case is when you sign these requests you have no idea where they are going to be sent (that is what medical professional and/or facility or anyone else for that matter) or what is going to be in them. You are inviting disaster.
You might be thinking, “ I have nothing to hide, I’m good, I’ll go ahead and sign them.” I urge you to reconsider. The DBA insurance companies deny legitimate claims all the time. You never know when a doctor or a nurse is going to stick something in your records that is going to harm your case. Not to mention all of the other "non-medical" records that you may be releasing to the DBA insurance company.
Too often we see random information put in medical records. Or even down right false information. Stuff that can and will really hurt you.
Why take that chance?
If you do end up signing a medical release - your attorney can make sure it is very narrow
The Aegis/ AIG court addressed this issue also:
If [the medical releases] are needed, the administrative law judge must greatly narrow their scope or must order the parties to work together to generate mutually-agreeable medical release forms.
The Aegis/ AIG case explains why you shouldn't sign a medical release/ medical authorization (don't miss this)
Some folks might be thinking - I still don't get it.
What harm can come from me signing a medical release if I have nothing to hide?
As it turns out, a lot of harm can come to you. Here is what the court in Aegis/ AIG said about over broad medical releases:
Claimant refused to sign the two releases in this case, contending they seek improper information and will allow employer to engage in “unfettered” ex parte communications with his medical providers.12 Claimant is correct: the medical releases are grossly overbroad on their faces and appear to be designed to harass or intimidate as much as to obtain relevant information.
The release forms grant employer permission to obtain unlimited medical and other sensitive information from unlimited sources for no identifiable or legitimate reason. For example, the Tangiers Release states:
This authorization applies to information about: [claimant’s] past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition. . . . [and] includes information on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco. . . .
It authorizes a range of persons and entities to release claimant’s information, “including physicians, insurers, consumer reporting agencies, travel organizers, airlines, hotels,” as well as “any other person who may have knowledge about this claim[,]” stating that the information “may be used or disclosed to evaluate any claim for benefits.” Id. (emphasis added). The Tangiers Release also would have claimant authorize employer, or any of its associated representatives, such as its insurer or plan administrators, “to contact by telephone, in person, or in writing any Health Care Provider and authorize such Health Care Provider to discuss and/or provide reports. . . .” Id. (emphasis added). And, finally, it would require those providers to release information with respect to claimant “or any of [his] dependents which may have a bearing on the benefits payable under this or any other plan providing benefits or services.” Id. (emphasis added).
A List of all the bad things that you would have "signed away" if you had signed the DBA insurance company release that were at issue in the Aegis/ AIG Case
1. You allow medical records to be released regarding your mental health issues, even though there were no mental health issues in that case.
2. Alcohol, drug treatment and tobacco records.
3. You would allow the DBA insurance company adjuster and/or lawyer to call up all of your treating doctors and/or meet with your treating doctors and discuss you, your medical history and/or your claim. This is what is meant by "ex parte communications." It states, to "contact by telephone, in person..."
4. The release allow the DBA insurance company to get records from every health insurance, car insurance, home insurance company that you have every had dealings with.
5. The release allowed the DBA insurance company to get your credit ratings. They would know every time you have ever been late with a monthly credit card payment, for instance or late with an installment payment.
6. The release allow the DBA insurance company to get all of your airline travel records.
7. The release allow the DBA insurance company to get all of your hotel records.
8. The release allow the DBA insurance company to get all of your school records.
9. The releases allow employment records.
This is why the Aegis/ AIG court concluded that "the medical releases are grossly overbroad on their faces and appear to be designed to harass or intimidate as much as to obtain relevant information."
They are looking for reasons to deny your claim
As is clear from this list. The Releases allow much more than the DBA insurance company getting your medical records. In essence, you are allowing the DBA insurance company to dive into your life. Remember, they are never looking for reasons to pay you benefits. They are always looking for reasons to deny your claim.
The bottom line
The case law is very clear. You don’t have to and should not sign a medical release in order to get DBA benefits. Now is the time to lawyer-up. Get the best, honest DBA lawyer that will agree to take your case.
And your lawyer can make sure that you sign a narrow release if you do end up having to sign one.