Posted on behalf of Arnold Law Firm on October 14, 2021 in Personal Injury. Updated on February 24, 2022
When pursuing compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, your medical records are one of the key pieces of evidence to prove you suffered damages. Not only is it important to disclose these records as proof of your injuries to the liable insurance company, but it is necessary to do so in a manner that still protects your right to privacy.
Our personal injury attorneys in Sacramento understand any concerns you may have regarding your privacy. We are prepared to help you through the process of disclosing your medical records while pursuing the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), every individual has the right to maintain his or her health information and medical records private. You have the right to request these records from all treating doctors in writing.
Additionally, you have the right to provide access to these records to anyone you want, so long as it is done in writing with a wet signature from you. Electronic signatures are not acceptable when granting permission to access medical records.
If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor child, you may be legally allowed to access or disclose his or her medical records in instances when you are filing a claim on that child’s behalf.
Those who are legally representing an adult, such as a power of attorney or representing the estate of a deceased person, may also access or disclose medical records.
When working with an attorney on an injury case, it is generally a good idea to provide him or her access to your medical records. Under client-attorney privilege, your attorney is legally bound to keep any communications between you confidential. This includes information regarding your medical records.
You may also need to consider releasing some medical records to the liable insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit. However, once you do file a lawsuit, you may be legally obligated to disclose those records anyway.
In other cases, an injury victim not being treated by a primary care physician may also need to disclose his or her medical records so the treating doctor may provide adequate care depending on your medical history.
Signing a blanket medical records release form to the liable insurance company may not be in your best interest either, as they may try and snoop around looking for any excuse to deny your claim.
This is why you consult with an experienced attorney. He or she will know what information is required for your case, and what information does not pertain to your case and therefore should be kept private.
Releasing your medical records may be one of the most invasive parts of your injury case, but it is important to understand that this process may be the key to helping you recover the compensation you need after suffering damages caused by another person’s negligence.
Your medical records will not only show that you suffered an injury, but that those injuries did not exist prior to the accident. This may help you establish causation in your case, which could force the insurance to pay the compensation you need.
However, if you did have prior injuries or a pre-existing condition that may have made you more susceptible to a more serious injury, even if the accident was minor, you may still be able to recover compensation even if you do disclose this information.
As a matter of fact, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for a new injury or an aggravated existing injury under the eggshell skull rule. This doctrine protects victims with pre-existing conditions when pursuing compensation.
If you do have a pre-existing condition, you likely have medical records detailing your conditions and any treatment you may have received. Releasing this information may help you establish the difference between your old injuries and new ones, which could also help your case.
If you are concerned with your privacy rights regarding your medical records during an injury case, you should strongly consider speaking to one of our licensed attorneys.
For over 30 years, the Arnold Law Firm has been helping victims prove their injuries while protecting their rights in order to recover the compensation they need for their losses.
Call us today at (916) 777-7777 for a free consultation.