Subtracting Insult From Injury

Navigating the Concerns of Personal Medical Information in Negligence Lawsuits: “If I file suit for my herniated disc, do I have to disclose my entire past medical history?”


In our role as dedicated personal injury attorneys operating in New York, a question frequently arises from our clients. Those pursuing negligence lawsuits often express apprehension about the need to divulge their entire personal medical history. The incongruity of disclosing unrelated medical details, such as migraine or blood pressure treatments, alongside claims of a broken arm or torn rotator cuff is evident.  The legal landscape demands an exploration of medical records by defense attorneys, searching for potential alternative explanations for the claimant’s suffering. Fortunately, seasoned personal injury attorneys are adept at safeguarding extraneous medical records from becoming fodder for the defense’s strategy.

New York’s judicial system has erected safeguards against what can often seem like intrusive, even insulting, “fishing expeditions” by defense attorneys. Both State and Federal laws stand as bulwarks guaranteeing the privacy of medical matters and records. While it remains permissible for the opposing side to scrutinize all medical information pertaining to injuries stemming from the incident in question, the onus rests upon them to substantiate the necessity and relevance of additional records. Specifically, these records must be deemed “material and necessary” for the defense’s case. A compelling justification must be provided, demonstrating the utility of the requested information in reasonably countering the claims of injury. Plaintiff attorneys counter these requests by highlighting the defense’s obligation to establish a clear and pertinent link between the records sought and the specific physical or mental conditions under scrutiny.

It’s imperative to understand that initiating legal action due to injuries sustained in scenarios like slip and falls, auto accidents or medical malpractice does not amount to a wholesale forfeiture of one’s right to medical privacy. It is not incumbent upon individuals to endure a violation of privacy alongside their physical pain. Engaging the services of a knowledgeable and experienced New York attorney can ensure that you are rightfully compensated for your suffering, all while ensuring the confidentiality and privileged status of unrelated health conditions.

For those seeking recourse, Peter DeFilippis & Associates stands ready to assist. We extend complimentary consultations, and our commitment to your case is underscored by the fact that we only collect payment if we successfully secure compensation for you and your loved ones. To take the first step towards justice, reach out to us today at 914-478-7777 or 212-227-4001.

Your privacy and rights matter, and we’re here to protect them.


By Peter DeFilippis, Esq.