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Is Defendants' Attorney entitled to discover my health insurance carrier?

Tucson, AZ |

I'm a Plaintiff in a personal injury matter in Arizona. I've recently been issued an interrogatory from the Defendants of which requests (amongst other things) the name of my health insurance carrier. I have no qualms about disclosing medical history, but why do Defendants need to know if I have health insurance and whom it may be? Do you think an objection is warranted?

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The scope of discovery in a civil law suit is relatively broad and generally is open to anything reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of evidence admissible at trial. This discovery standard is far broader than the standard at trial, which is relevance. So, an inquiry about health insurance is fairly standard. I highly recommend that if you do not have an attorney that you retain one ASAP before completing the discovery.


Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.

Mark David Brynteson

Mark David Brynteson


When you are the plaintiff in a personal injury action, your medical history is fair game during the discovery process. Unless the law of your state does not allow the defense to obtain this information, they can probably get it. Whether the defense can use it at trial is another question. If your lawsuit is about a broken ankle, medical records about the flu you had last year probably would not be allowed at trial.


Do you have an attorney? if so, ask that attorney for thoughts on this.

In Colorado, we have case law that stands for the proposition that once a plaintiff puts their health at issue post-tortious conduct, everything is pretty much fair game for discovery so long as it relates to medical care prior to the subject tortious conduct. What's that mean? It means that the defense gets to know the idnentity of your carrier so they can request records to ascertain if you have had any prior claims or any pre-existing conditions.

While I love Tucson and wish I was eating at an Eegee's as I type, I am not licensed in Arizona so check with an attorney that works in the personal injury world down there.

Good luck!

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


They want to see if you had been treated previously for the injuries you are claiming, and they'll find out one way or another.

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Your objection is warranted, and you should object. You may still provide your insurance information since you have no qualms about it. Realistically, AZ does not allow information about who paid your medical bills into trial. This is called the collateral source rule. The fact that you had health insurance, and the name of the company, is inadmissible. I suspect the defendant wants this information likely to obtain a more complete snapshot of the providers you have treated with over the years. You should consult with an attorney.


Yes, this is a typical discovery request in personal injury matters. When asserting a claim for a personal injury, you are opening your medical history up for examination with limitations. Health insurance records will provide the defense attorney with the identities of the medical providers you saw before and after the accident, which could assist the evaluation of whether your insuries were caused by the accident. However, once they have the health insurance records, the defense is not necessarily entitled to obtain all your prior medical records but must show a reasonable basis that the records could lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. I would recommend consulting a local personal injury attorney to adress thoses issues.


Yes. Honesty is always the best policy in any part of the discovery process. Deviating from the truth, or attempting to hide anything, will only complicate matters and lessen one’s chances of winning at trial, since the discovery process usually brings everything to light.

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While it is true that the scope of discovery is broad, it is not without limits. Whether a request for information regarding your health insurance is appropriate will depend on the nature of the case and the claims and/or defenses being raised. If you have an attorney you should discuss with him or her whether an objection is appropriate in your case. If you do not have an attorney, you should consider retaining one.

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