You sued your doctor.
For medical malpractice.
You believe he screwed up.
You believe he screwed up big time.
He caused you harm.
Permanent harm and injury.
Not intentionally, but because he was careless.
So you sued him.
To get comensation for all the harms, losses and damages you incurred.
He's not going to open his wallet voluntarily.
Your lawyer had to get a board certified medical expert to confirm you had a valid case.
He had to obtain all of your medical records.
He then had to review all those records himself.
Then, he had to send all your medical records to his expert.
Only when his expert confirmed that your doctor violated the basic standards of good medical care which resulted in your injuries were you able to start a lawsuit against your physician.
Shortly after you started your malpractice case, your lawyer tells you that he has to make copies of all your medical records and send it to the doctor's lawyer.
You flip out.
You start screaming.
I'M NOT GIVING THEM ANYTHING. SCREW THEM! HE CAUSED ME ALL THIS HARM, THERE'S NO WAY I'M GIVING HIM COPIES OF MY MEDICAL RECORD, you screech at the top of your lungs.
Your lawyer is taken aback.
He's shocked at your outburst.
After taking a breath, he starts to set you straight.
"You brought this lawsuit," he says.
"You're the one who claims your injuries were caused by this doctors' wrongdoing," he continues.
"The attorney who represents the doctor doesn't know you. He doesn't know what your medical condition was before. He doesn't know what your medical condition is currently. He doesn't know whether your claims are true. How else would you expect him to learn about your medical problems?" your lawyer asks you rhetorically.
You have no answer.
You're simply incensed that the defense wants copies of your medical records.
You can't believe you have to open up your entire medical history just because you sued him.
Your lawyer continues...
"Since you have put your medical condition in issue, the ONLY way for the defense to know if your injuries are significant and/or permanent is to review your medical records. They need to see your current treating doctors' records. They need to see your records from before you were injured to compare your medical condition."
"In addition, when the defense lawyer gets to question you during your question and answer session known as a deposition, held in my office, he will need those records to ask you questions about those visits with various doctors. Without knowing what's in those medical records, he'll claim he has no way to defend this case," your lawyer explains.
"The defense lawyer is not only able to get copies of all the medical records we have in our file, he is also permitted to get permission slips which will allow him to get copies of your medical records DIRECTLY from your doctors and hospitals. They do this because they don't necessarily trust us to give them accurate and complete records," your attorney says calmly.
"If you choose NOT to provide copies of your medical records, the defense lawyer will ask the judge to DISMISS your case. He will argue that he is hampered by your actions and cannot fully and properly defend this case. He'd be right. The judge would order us to provide copies of our records. Failing to do so would likely result in your case being dismissed.
You still can't believe you have to turn over your medical records to the lawyer who represents the doctor you sued.
"There is a court rule that requires us to hand over copies of your medical records to the defense."
"We have to do that shortly after you start your lawsuit," your attorney tells you.
"You need to set aside your ego and let me do my job and send copies of your records," he explains.
"But there may be things written in my medical records that are immensely personal and private," you plead.
"That may be true, but the defense is entitled to learn about them. Just because they learn and read about them does not necessarily mean they can use that information at trial. If there's damaging information in there we can always try and ask the judge to keep out that information, provided we have a good reason to do so."
"The bottom line is that the defense lawyer is entitled to get copies of your records."
"He's entitled to read whatever is contained in those records."
"He's entitled to receive permission slips known as authorizations which allow him to get your records directly from your health care provider."
"He's also permitted to ask you lots of questions about the information contained in the medical or hospital record."
"All this, because you started a lawsuit against your doctor.