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How much of my privacy would be exposed if I file a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Brooklyn, NY |

I am deciding if I should sue several doctors in one hospital and one private doctor. How much of my privacy would be part of the public record? For instance, my vital statistics like social security number, my medical and mental health records, my friends, my lifestyle, my tax returns and financial transactions, my family records, my work history, things that I own etc. Would that loss of privacy also be true of the doctors that I sue also?

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Attorney answers 7


Almost everything is fair game in a medical malpractice case and you can be sure that the defendants will try to go fishing for whatever they can. Your life will become an open book although there is now an attempt to protect your SS#. Your social media sites will also be scrutinized. In recent years, changes in the law in NY have also made it more difficult for attorneys to object to questions asked by the defendants' attorneys. Do not bring a lawsuit like this unless you are willing to open up your life in this fashion.


Information relevant to the claim or defense of the claim will be required to be produced during the course of discovery. Generally the public does not have access to this type of information and it is kept with the plaintiff and defense attorneys.

You may find it helpful to review the Legal Guide I have published on which deals with medical malpractice and what it is. You should discuss your concerns with any attorney that you wish to hire.

Legal Disclaimer:

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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.


To be perfectly frank, your life will be laid bare. But the reality is that unless you are a celebrity, no one but the defense attorneys is going to care.

This is general advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


In discovery your medical and mental health condition and treatment is an open book. Financial records and work history and anything related to financial matters is discoverable for damages. If the injury warrants it they may even have you followed and videotaped by a private investigator. Discuss the details with your prospective medical malpractice attorney.

If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or


It all comes out unless you obtain a protective order, limited or otherwise.

If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.


When you commence a medical malpractice action, your entire life history medically becomes relevant and this may go back to the time of birth. (in general this is also the case for any lawsuit where you claim a pre-existing injury/condition)

Friends and lifestyle in theory should not come into play b/c that is not relevant.

As for tax returns, those come into play if you are self employed. Work history is key if you are making a loss of earnings claim. Family records and financial transaction will be left out unless they are somehow relevant to the cause of action.

Doctors are sued all the time. They don't exactly have a loss of privacy issue to worry about.

This response will not create an attorney-client relationship.


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