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In a medmal suit, would my privacy be laid bare for all the jurors, the judge, and published in my case record?

Brooklyn, NY |

In a previous question, it is explained to me that my entire life, family and friends would be laid bare for the defense and my attorney. What about the judge and the jurors. Would they have the access to my privacy.The general public, would they be able to know every detail of my life also if they look up my case record? Are protection orders available. What if I settle my case? Can there be a gag order to protect my privacy, my social security number specially? It is just confirmed that
I have heartblocks from an ECT treatment. I am still in the process of working up my neurological
problems, and brain damage. Can I start the law suit and add items later?

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Attorney answers 6


You have some great questions...I doubt that you will file a med. Mal. case on your own, and presume that you will hire counsel for this.

I recommend that you pose these questions to the counsel that you hire. The short answer is that any relevent information about you can be examined. There are ways to protect sensitive information.

The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs.


Your social security number is not at risk. A civil proceeding is public. There is no case record other than pleadings. Discovery and responses are not filed (except, perhaps, as an exhibit to a motion.) The lawyer you hire will protect your privacy to the full extent permitted by law.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


Since your general health will most likely be put in issue, your entire medical history will be sought by the defense attorneys. Defense lawyers have become extremely aggressive in seeking these records. They will ask for authorizations for each and every doctor who is referenced or noted in each medical record. They will also ask for the release of all psych records as well as authorization to obtain all records dealing with HIV status. In my experience, judges have been allowing these demands far more often than precluding them. I strongly suggest you retain an attorney to determine if there exists a viable cause of action and to move for any appropriate protective orders. It is unwise to undertake any lawsuit on your own (while I can swing a hammer and measure and cut wood, I still hired a builder to build my house). It is doubly unwise to undertake a medical malpractice case pro se. These are complicated actions with some very specific pleading requirements.

The case record is a public record. However, the only things in the court file are pleadings, orders an motions. One of the pleadings will be one ore more bills of particulars, which will include your allegations pertaining to your injuries, as well as the particulars of any lost earnings claim. If there is a trial, there will be a transcript. Your lawyer can make an application to seal the record but this is only for good cause show.

I may be contacted at 212-553-9300.


Yes, you can start a suit and add items of damage later, that you learn are causally related to the malpractice. If you have a good claim, it will probably never reach a judge or jury. The defendant's attorney will basically be able to ask you about everything, discover all your medical records, etc., but they are not interested in circulating that information.


Nowadays with cases being electronically maintained, there are requirements to keep all important records like social security numbers, date of birth information redacted. if you commence an action, your attorney could seek to keep medical records contained in motions sealed from the public (it is permitted like this in Federal Court). As for the jury, they may hear about treatment, but they will not review the documents or anything like that.

You can commence a medical malpractice case. Consult with a med mal attorney who will take the necessary steps for you. The Complaint that will be filed on your behalf. Once the defendants have appeared they will ask for specifics as to your injuries.

This response will not create an attorney-client relationship.


Don't play lawyer, retain one.

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