I don’t want to say that the people who run insurance companies are cartoon villains, but sometimes their minions sure act like there is a crazy evil hand controlling all of their moves.
At the start of the case you are likely to get a request for medical record authorization form. It’s usually a broad request that asks for permission to get history on every piece of medical care you’ve ever received. They don’t have a right to that. If you have a back injury, they don’t get to know about your pregnancy. If you need your ACL repaired they don’t get to look in to your treatment with a psychologist. They can only ask for medical records that are related to the injury you’ve sustained.
A lesson common request, but one we’ve seen lately is when they ask you for your taxes. Why would they do that?
It happens for a few reasons: 1. They might suspect that you are working a second job while collecting work comp benefits. That could be illegal and they are hoping to catch you. 2. They are trying to lower your average weekly wage for payments. 3. They want you to be uncomfortable and feel like they are looking for any way to catch you doing something wrong.
So do you have to turn over your taxes?
I wouldn’t. It’s pretty invasive. They need to prove that it’s relevant to the case and while I don’t believe in making battles when they don’t need to be there, I also don’t think it’s a good idea for workers to just roll over and say “yes sir” every time the insurance company wants to look under a rock to see if something is there. And of course many tax documents include things like rental properties, investments, your spouse’s information etc that could never be relevant to a case.
If they do want it by subpoena, the subpoena needs to be properly served and items turned over at a hearing. There is no discovery in Illinois work comp cases. So unlike other civil cases such as a car accident, they can’t just ask for documents or ask you to answer questions under oath in writing or in person. If they want this information they should get it at a trial.
If they are looking for this type of info, it’s a sign you have a battle on your hand. That says to me that you need to prioritize when to fight and how to fight. So while giving up access to medical records is part of every normal case, giving your private financial information isn’t and should only be done after a serious talk with an attorney who’s experienced at trials and prepared to do so if needed in your case.