The information exchanged between you and your doctor is privileged. Doctors cannot disclose this information without your consent without violating the rules of doctor-patient confidentiality. This confidentiality might be waived, however, in certain lawsuits.
Generally, your private medical information cannot be disclosed to third parties without your consent. Doctors who violate this privilege face serious consequences. As such, most doctors will go to great lengths to keep your medical records private. If you file an injury lawsuit, the confidentiality of your medical information should remain intact, barring special circumstances. If you sue your doctor for injuries, your right to confidentiality is generally considered waived, as your medical care would be the basis of your claims. In other cases, if you choose, you can waive your right to confidentiality. You might do this if you want to present your own medical records as evidence. In some cases, the defendant might want details from your confidential medical records, but they must jump through several legal hoops before they can get this information.
Contact our Maryland personal injury attorneys to set up a free, private case evaluation by calling our team at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
How Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Works in Maryland Injury Lawsuits
Certain relationships are so important that special laws are designed to protect them. One of these relationships is the one between a doctor and their patient. Doctor-patient confidentiality protects your private medical information from being disseminated to others without your consent. This privilege allows patients to be more open and honest with their physicians so that they can get the treatment they need without worrying about others finding out about private medical issues.
While doctor-patient confidentiality is important, it can be waived under certain circumstances. In a personal injury lawsuit where your injuries and certain limited medical details might be important, this rule of confidentiality still stands unless you say otherwise. If you file a medical malpractice case against your doctor, the privilege may be waived.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
In a personal injury lawsuit, your right to doctor-patient confidentiality is not waived, at least not automatically. People sometimes mistakenly believe that because cases like this involve physical injuries, medical records are automatically disclosed to the court. This is not the case. Your right to confidentiality should remain intact even if you file an injury lawsuit where the opposing party might question your medical history. Our Baltimore personal injury attorneys can help you keep your medical information private.
Keep in mind that the defendant might want to see copies of your medical records as they relate to your injuries and the case. As described in more detail below, the defendant would need to subpoena those records and convince the court they are relevant before they can see anything.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice lawsuits are often considered to be under the umbrella of the larger category of personal injury claims. In a medical malpractice case, plaintiffs sue doctors or other medical professionals for injuries caused by negligent treatment that failed to meet standards of care. In such a case, your medical records are the basis of the case, and your right to confidentiality may be waived.
Depending on your health condition and background, you might have a lengthy medical history. Our Aberdeen personal injury attorneys can help you make sure that only the parts of your medical records that are relevant to your current case are disclosed. Any other private medical information that has no bearing on the case should remain private.
Can I Waive Doctor-Patient Confidentiality in My Maryland Injury Lawsuit?
The interesting thing about doctor-patient confidentiality is that your doctor cannot waive this privilege. However, you may do so if you see fit. The privilege is meant to protect patients. Therefore, only patients may waive the right to confidentiality.
Your ability to waive doctor-patient confidentiality might come in handy under these circumstances. For example, many plaintiffs need to present their medical records to prove the severity and extent of their injuries. This is often necessary in cases where injuries are complicated, unusual, or especially severe. These records cannot be admitted into court if you do not waive your right to confidentiality.
Waiving confidentiality and entering parts of your medical records into evidence may have risks. When you enter such information into evidence, it is open to scrutiny from the opposing party. This means that any parts of your medical records you want to enter as evidence must be passed to the defense during discovery.
What Happens if the Defendant Wants My Medical Records in a Maryland Injury Lawsuit?
Defendants might want access to your medical information regarding your injuries. This is often the case in cases where injuries are extensive, and defendants want them reviewed by their own experts. Defendants might also want copies of private medical records if they suspect plaintiffs are being dishonest about their injuries. You do not have to hand your confidential records over willingly. On top of that, your doctor is not allowed to disclose these records to anyone without your say so.
However, defendants may subpoena the information from your records. To get a subpoena issued by the court for the medical records, defendants must give compelling reasons as to why they are necessary. If we believe the defendant’s reasons for wanting your medical records are bogus, we can argue as much in court and hopefully block the subpoena.
Even if the defendant gets the subpoena they need, they usually do not have direct access to all your records. Only details from your medical records that are relevant to the case may be subject to the subpoena. Generally, these kinds of discovery requests should be narrowly tailored. Information that is not relevant may be withheld or redacted. Your attorney can help you make sure as little information from your medical records is made available as possible.
Contact Our Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers About Protecting Your Medical Privacy
Contact our Ocean City, MD personal injury lawyers to set up a private case evaluation at no cost by calling our experienced team at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.