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In California we can sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). Is this scenario is even worth an atty's time?

Toluca Lake, CA |

A doctor with whom I was having a payment dispute withheld a portion of my medical records. I let them know that I needed them for a SSDI claim hearing, but no go. I filed a complaint with the Cal Medical Board, the MB investigated and the doctor didn't respond to them either. The MB issued a citation, and four months after that, they got the records and forwarded to me (A total of 7 months after I requested them). Because I needed them four months ago, can we file an arbitration claim for intentional and negligent infliction?

I am not thinking this is malpractice, this seems to be an office issue,

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

Yes you can file a claim, but what would you recover? Unless you can prove a significant financial loss caused by the doctor’s failure to release your records, your claim for emotional distress would not have any measurable value and would not be worth either your time or an attorney’s time.

LICENSED AND ACCEPTING CASES IN CALIFORNIA & UTAH - 911LAW.ORG - Former Judge Pro Tem in California Superior Court. CALIFORNIA PERSONAL INJURY CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY LAWYER. ST GEORGE UTAH PERSONAL INJURY CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY LAWYER. Attorney responses are provided for informational and educational purposes only and do not create an attorney client relationship. Such responses represent the attorney’s initial analysis based only upon the facts set forth in the question. Since the question may not include all of the facts or omit material facts or timelines which could affect the attorney’s conclusions, attorney responses should not be construed as legal advice for any particular set of facts but only as a preliminary opinion.


No and no.

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Although California does recognize a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED), the facts you describe do not appear to describe a claim that I would want to pursue in litigation.

This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.


My understanding is that NIED is not a cause of action under these facts. I don't have evidence to support an IEED cause of action. There are statutory rights to your records and I believe that those statutes provide some type of remedy. I suspect that your doctor was suffering from a physiological, psychological, or substance-abuse disability rather than evilness. Also, you had a duty to mitigate your losses; I have no evidence that you did so.


It would likely be fruitless.


You should have some action for the violation of statute in failing to make your records available within fifteen (15) days. You can try tying in both negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress - for which you will need to discuss in more detail with an attorney to see if your matter meets the standard for those types of claims.

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