Although NOT required to be signed to get Accident Benefits after a car accident the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, will often ask the injury claimant to sign a medical consent form releasing medical information to ICBC. The standard ICBC authorization to provide medical information authorizes every medical practitioner to release to ICBC any and all records, x-rays, information and evidence in their possession. The signed medical authorization indicates that information collected with the authorization form is done in accordance with the BC privacy law. ICBC may also want the claimant to sign an Authorization to Provide Medication information from MSP, the Medical Services Plan, usually in the form of a medical history printout after being injured in a car accident.
Once the injury claimant has signed the medical consent form the ICBC adjuster will have the right to send a letter to the family doctor and MSP indicating that the injury claimant is making a claim with ICBC for injuries resulting from the motor vehicle accident, and ask for copies of complete clinical records, including any consultation reports. The signing of the medical authorization is potentially the beginning of problems for the personal injury claim as irrelevant and sometime embarrassing documents can be released.
I am a personal injury lawyer helping injury claimants since 1995 from Vancouver and can say that signing medical consent forms gratuitously and without legal advice can negatively impact the successful resolution of a good case. Three excellent reasons not to sign these medical authorizations:(1) revealing embarrassing and irrelevant information will increase the length and expense of the litigation process; (2) you lose control over when ICBC gets your personal medical information; and (3) the documentation will be kept by ICBC and used to defend other future claims.
You should know that regardless of your consent ICBC has been provided powers under the law to force doctors to provide medical information. It is therefore unnecessary for an ICBC injury claimant to provide a blanket consent for ICBC to obtain their medical history. To understand more about ICBC accident benefits watch our video about no-fault ICBC injury benefits.
There may be a few circumstances however where giving ICBC a signed medical authorization could be helpful for your case: (1) You have delayed in making your clam and ICBC has no notice of you injury; (2) ICBC’s MSP Medical Consent Form (CL237E) states that if the adjuster cannot obtain this information that it could delay payment payment of benefits or settlement of the injury claim. If this threat of delay is accepted then there is some value in signing consent forms and these forms should be signed after consulting a personal injury lawyer and; (3) You have no medical history.
As a personal injury lawyer it is my policy to revoke all previous authorizations signed by my client, and to provide ICBC with medical documentation required to prove the claim or the obtain benefits that are being claimed. Talk to a personal injury lawyer about their policy of disclosure before hiring the lawyer.
Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A., LL.B.