Do I Really Need to Show My Medical Records in a Personal Injury Claim?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on April 15, 2020  in Personal Injury News. Updated on March 2, 2022

doctor-medical-records-handshakeIf you or a loved one was injured in an accident and are planning to or have already filed an injury claim, you may need to provide some medical proof of your injury. However, this could pose as a problem for some injury victims who wish to protect their right to privacy.

If you hire an attorney to represent your claim, he or she will almost certainly ask that you authorize the release of your medical records. Your lawyer will need this to prove the severity of your injury and how it occurred. You can also give your lawyer written permission to obtain medical records on your behalf.

Below, our New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Lynch Law Firm, PC explain the reasons why showing your medical records may be necessary to help build a strong claim for compensation.

Reasons to Release Your Medical Records

While it may be invasive for some, there are several reasons why it could be in your best interests to release your medical records, such as:

  • It can allow both sides to determine the viability of your claim
  • It can help both sides understand the nature and severity of your injuries
  • It gives expert witnesses the ability to evaluate your injury and confirm the severity and cause
  • It can help you and your lawyer calculate the damages for potential compensation amounts

Do Pre-Existing Injuries Matter?

Another important reason why accessing your medical records may be an asset, would be to prove that you had no pre-existing injuries prior to your accident.

However, if you did have pre-existing injuries, the insurance company could try to use this against you and deny your claim. If this is the case, it may then be up to you and your lawyer to obtain more definitive proof of how your injury was sustained. This could be done by requesting additional medical evidence from your health care provider or by hiring an expert witness to back your claim.

Some pre-existing conditions that may worsen due to new injuries are:

  • Neck issues
  • Brain injuries
  • Hernias
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Fibromyalgia (muscle disorder)
  • Back problems (including degenerative disc disease and arthritis)

The Eggshell Doctrine

This doctrine protects injured victims, who may be more susceptible to health issues, by stating that their existing health issues cannot be held against them when determining the value of their injury claim. In other words, although you may have been more likely to suffer from an injury compared to the average person, this cannot be used against you to lower your potential compensation amounts.

The eggshell doctrine is designed to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions who may suffer more than the average person with a similar injury.

HIPAA Laws in New Jersey

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 was enacted to keep personal health records private for all individuals, including safeguarding this information along with other identifiable health information.

Each state may have some certain differences in how the law is enforced. If you wish to learn more about your HIPAA rights in New Jersey, you can do so by clicking here.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Licensed Attorney

Our licensed attorneys at Lynch Law Firm, PC understand that injury victims have a right to privacy, especially when it comes to their medical history.

We are prepared to hear the details of your claim in a no cost, confidential consultation. We charge you no upfront fees and you will not be obligated to have us represent your claim. You only pay us when we win compensation on your behalf.

Call us anytime, 24/7, at (800) 518-0508 .

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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