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Shapiro & Appleton

I am involved in a lawsuit resulting from a car accident where I suffered a traumatic brain injury. It seems like every week I am sent medical authorization forms from the insurance company and their attorneys so they can obtain medical records from the doctors that are treating me and virtually 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?

This is a common question from my clients. The general answer is a lot of your past medical history will come up. It is in your best interest to communicate openly with your lawyer so that he/she knows about your past history and can address it properly in your current case.  It is also important to know that there are limits to what the other side can find out and an attorney who knows what they are doing will make sure to fight those requests.  

Once we get involved in litigation, meaning we actually file a lawsuit, the other side can collect a great amount of information related to your medical history.  Of course this feels like a gross invasion of your privacy. Unfortunately, once we file that lawsuit, we open the door to your past because your medical condition is at issue in the current case. 

Some lawyers will agree to everything that the other side asks for.  This is where my firm is different.  We as personal injury lawyers take the time to make sure that the requests from the other attorney are for information he/she is entitled to receive.  Just because you are suing someone for back pain resulting from a car wreck does not mean that your mental health records from 20 years ago should be accessible.  This is a frequent battle we fight with defense attorneys who issue broadly worded subpoenas.  I can't tell you how many Fridays I spend at the courthouse arguing this very point.  The general answer is a lot of your past medical history will come up.  It is in your best interest to communicate openly with your lawyer so that he/she knows about your past history and can address it properly in your current case.  It is also important to know that there are limits to what the other side can find out and an attorney who knows what they are doing will make sure to fight those requests.  


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