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New York Personal Injury Litigation: When to Disclose Medical Records?

March 18, 2020

If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, your attendant medical records –and even your medical history – are likely going to play an important role in your personal injury claim. You were injured because of someone else’s negligence, and the insurance company involved will need to see corroboration. This does not, however, mean the insurance company has carte blanche to do so – instead, you’ll need to sign an authorization for medical records that delineates the appropriate parameters. If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in an accident, contact an experienced New York personal injury attorney.

The Authorization for Release of Medical Records

If you are moving forward with personal injury litigation, your personal injury attorney is going to need you to authorize releasing your medical records, and the information released will most likely include:

  • Your name, social security number, and date of birth
  • Your patient account number
  • Your address
  • Specific medical records within a specific range of dates that include the date of the accident in question

It is not legal in the State of New York, however, for a medical provider to disclose medical information without your consent.

The State’s Ruling

New York law finds that disclosing personal information related to one’s medical care without consent shocks our sense of decency and propriety, which is one reason it is forbidden. Further, it finds that the state’s public policy is to help keep sensitive medical information private and confidential. It is the court’s ruling that patients shouldn’t avoid obtaining the emergency medical care they need (after an accident, for example) out of fear of loss of confidentiality. To do otherwise would discourage necessary emergency care, intrude on critical medical relationships based on confidentiality, and undermine one’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

It’s Complicated

While you will need to share medical records that pertain directly to your case, the State of New York only allows this to go so far. For instance, your past medical records related to your mental health and/or any addiction issues are unlikely to be relevant. Even if the accident in question leads to a considerable increase in anxiety, which isn’t uncommon, your mental health records should remain off-limits. Further, sensitive health issues such as being HIV positive probably have no reason to be brought into contention.

The line is quite fine between what is admissible and what is not. The defendant’s attorney is going to maneuver in whatever manner possible to use your medical records against your claim (whether the information is relevant or not), but your experienced personal injury attorney will aggressively advocate in defense of your claim and the compensation to which you are entitled.

Call Us Today to Speak with an Experienced New York City Personal Injury Attorney

Your medical history is your private information. While you will need to share those records that specifically apply to your personal injury case, that is where your obligation ends. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman in New York City are committed to fighting for your right to privacy and to obtaining your claim’s most positive resolution. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 212-285-3300 today.


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