Is 10 years of records a reasonable request from a Defense attorney in a personal injury claim, or is 10 years worth unduly burdensome?
Without knowing the facts of your case and the injuries you are claiming, it is difficult to answer whether or not 10 years is a reasonable request. I have seen this request made before, but very rarely. Usually 3 to 5 years is the normal period of time you will see for a prior medical records request. In Arizona, medical providers are required to keep medical records for seven years only, so it is possible that 10 years of records would not even be possible to attain. Keep in mind, the insurance company's major goal is to pay you as little as possible. Another goal is sometimes to simply make pursing your claim difficult. I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney specializing in personal injury. Attempting to handle a personal injury claim on your own can be difficult and time consuming. Arizona has many laws which you will be expected to comply with which you may not be aware of. The insurance company is going to have a professional on their side, so should you. If I can be of further assistance, please call.
In my opinion, it is not the time frame but the relationship of the records to the injury at issue that determines what is unduly burdensome. making a claim waives the physician patient privilege with regards to medical conditions which the claimant voluntarily put at issue. It does not waive the privilege as to all medical conditions. If you claim a neck injury, you shouldn't have to produce your dentist's records, or your gynecologist's records -- unless you complained of neck pain to them.
The answer to your question is really contingent on your medical condition you place at issue in your lawsuit and any prior injuries to the same body part. For instance, if you injured your back in a vehicle collision, and have had symptoms /injuries of your back prior to the incident for 10 years or more, the request for 10 years prior records does appear reasonable. Ultimately, you should really consult personally with an attorney.
As others have pointed out, it really depends on the alleged injuries and facts of the case. I have seen requests that range anywhere from 3-10 years. Without knowing more, I think it's difficult to categorize a 10 year request as unduly burdensome. In fact, there are situations where a 10 year records request may be totally appropriate. Feel free to provide us with a little more information and I am sure one of us could be more helpful.
In Miami, Florida it is probably not unreasonable per se. If you are suing somebody for a back personal injury and you had the very same back personal injury 10 years earlier it would seem relevant. That being stated, if the medical records are being requested directly from the Plaintiff, you can only produce what you have. If you are being asked to list the doctors you have seen in the last 10 years I highly recommend being accurate as many jurisdictions will dismiss a Plaintiff's lawsuit if it is determined that the Plaintiff is hiding information to undermine the Judicial Process. If you want legal advice in your area it is best to contact a local attorney that practices in this area. My firm, The Altman Law Firm, handles catastrophic personal injury and traumatic brain injury cases in Miami, Florida.
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