Question – I am presently involved in a lawsuit stemming from a fall where I sustained a traumatic brain injury. It seems as if every week I am sent medical authorizations so that the insurance company and their lawyers can obtain not only the medical records from the doctors that are treating me, but from almost every other doctor I have ever seen. I feel like my privacy rights are being abused. Is there anything I can do to stop this?
Answer – When a patient treats with a doctor, there is a well-established physician-patient privilege and recent Federal law protects disclosure of your medical records. However, when you have been injured and assert a claim, your right to medical privacy has ended.
An insurance company and its attorneys have the right to obtain all of your prior medical records as well as your medical records from doctors who have treated your claim. This is done so that it can be determined whether the injuries you assert stem from your accident or maybe were preexisting.
In many states, prior to psychiatric or psychological records enjoy greater protection. However, since one of the hallmarks of traumatic brain injury is emotional (depression, anxiety, etc.) residuals or sequella, even those records are available for disclosure to the insurance company.