What Medical Records Are The Defense Allowed To See In A Personal Injury Case?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on July 22, 2015

in Buffalo Injury Questions and Answers

All Buffalo personal injury cases require the injured person to prove the nature and extent of any injury suffered.

This process involves allowing the defendant to obtain and review the injured person’s medical records.

So that the defense may obtain these records, the person pursuing damages will have to sign an authorization, which is required under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996.

HIPAA bars medical providers from releasing any information regarding a patient’s treatment without consent.

While someone making a personal injury claim is required to give up certain privacy rights regarding medical treatment, this does not necessarily mean that the defense has a right to look at records completely unrelated to injuries suffered in the accident.

The defense is entitled to see all medical records related to treatment for injuries suffered in the accident that is the subject of the personal injury claim.

They also are entitled to see any records of prior treatment to the same body parts as the claimed injuries.

For example, if a person is claiming a neck injury and received treatment for neck pain prior to the accident, the defense is entitled to see all records regarding neck treatment, regardless of whether it occurred before or after the accident.

Only under very limited circumstances is the defense allowed to look through all of the injured person’s medical records regardless of whether they relate to a body part that was injured in the accident.

When the defense insists on seeing unrelated medical information, the matter may eventually end up in front of a judge.

The judge will review the disputed medical records and decide if they contain anything the defense has a right to know.

If you have suffered a personal injury and need legal advice, please feel free to call us at 716-631-9999.

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