Medical Records

Discovery of Medical Records

Exchanging medical records is part of every auto accident lawsuit. The law requires you to provide the insurance company all records related to the injury you are trying to get covered. That includes doctors’ files, hospital records, and therapists’ notes. But the law works both ways. Sometimes discovery in a lawsuit is the only way to find out why your insurance claim was denied in the first place.

A medical record is created every time you step foot in a medical provider’s office. Whether you are just there for a check up or are going in for major surgery, medical providers are legally required to document everything that happens. They also keep records regarding billing, payments, and benefits refusals.

Why Do I Have to Release My Medical Records?

After a serious injury accident, there could be hundreds of pages of medical records, and the insurance company is entitled to all of them. Whenever you sue anyone for injuries, the lawsuit puts your physical and mental health “at issue.” That means it is up to your lawyer to prove your injuries and it is up to the insurance company’s attorney to defend against those claims.

One main way it does that is by having “independent” medical experts review your medical records to decide whether the treatment was “reasonable and necessary” to treat an injury related to an auto accident. If the medical expert says no, the insurance company will deny the claim. Then your doctors and the insurance company’s medical experts will go head-to-head in court over whether the insurance company is required to pay for those medical treatments.

Does the Insurance Company Have to Get Everything?

The insurance company is entitled to anything related to the accident – including prior injuries to the same parts of your body. But that doesn’t mean they can get everything. If the insurance company requests medical records that aren’t related to your auto accident injuries, your lawyer can ask the court to limit what they have access to in discovery.

This can be particularly important when mental health records contain private information that have nothing to do with your case. Make sure you let your attorneys know if there are any sensitive issues in your medical history, so they can request the necessary limiting instruction.

Doesn’t Discovery Violate My Privacy?

When you decided to sue for your injuries, you made them public, to a certain extent. But that doesn’t mean the insurance company can do whatever it wants with them. Auto accident attorneys can ask the court to issue a protective order, allowing the insurance company to use the records for your case and any appeals, but not for any other purpose.

Don’t let the insurance company’s discovery demands get you down. Exchange of documents is part of filing a lawsuit. But the attorneys at Christensen Law will go to court for you and fight to limit the company’s access to only what is required under the law.