When a Plaintiff makes a claim for personal injury it has become commonplace for representatives of the insurance industry to demand, and expect, access to the private medical records of the Plaintiff without limiting their requests in terms of relevance or time. In some cases they simply include a “helpful” authorisation form for the Plaintiff to sign so that they can access all records directly from every medical attendant the Plaintiff has ever attended. If the Plaintiff complies with this request their records become the subject of scrutiny by legal, and insurance personnel before ever reaching the desk of a medical professional acting for the Defendant.
In contrast, the practice set out by the Law Society in relation to Medical examination in personal injury cases allows for the medical professional acting for the Plaintiff and the Defendant to liaise with each other directly regarding the patient’s medical treatment or history. The Courts are now endorsing this method and disallowing expansive discovery requests from Defendants with costs being awarded to the Plaintiff. This is a welcome development in a society where the privacy of a person’s records is constantly being undermined.