Are my Medical Records Protected by HIPAA in a New Mexico Auto Accident?

- Mark Caruso

Understanding HIPAA and a New Mexico Auto Accident: What Medical Records You Need to Disclose

We all know that our medical records are protected under HIPAA.  This is why we sign waivers when we sign in with doctor’s offices that allow that office to send your medical records to other providers, like your primary care physician or a laboratory for testing.  While HIPAA is very strong and important, many people wonder are surprised to learn that in a New Mexico auto accident case they need to disclose their health records to the other party.  Some people may be embarrassed what is in their medical records, and others do not want the invasion of privacy.  Many clients and victims of personal injury accidents ask why they must disclose their personal information.

Our experienced New Mexico auto accident lawyer knows that these types of disclosures are sensitive for some people.  Many people may worry that their protected health information is being used improperly, particularly by the other side which may be angry that we have a claim against them.  Our compassionate team will help explain to you your rights and ensure that the medical records that are disclosed are proper.  Call the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. to learn how we can help you by failing (505) 883-5000.

Why Do I Need to Disclose my Medical Records in a New Mexico Auto Accident?

If you have been involved in an auto accident in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, or anywhere else in New Mexico, you will need to disclose your health records.  While HIPAA protects the disclosure of your medical records and sensitive medical information, by bringing a personal injury action you are putting your health at issue and the law deems you to be effectively waiving your HIPAA rights.

In addition, our system of jurisprudence requires the plaintiff to prove his or her case.  To prove your personal injuries, you will need to establish that you have been injured.  This will require you to provide medical evidence, in the form of medical records and likely medical testimony from your treating physicians and/or experts.  This is also part of the waiver of HIPAA.

What Medical Records are NOT Waived in a Personal Injury Action?

While you are required to prove your personal injuries and waive HIPAA rights, that waiver is only for injuries related to or that have any bearing on your claims.  This means that certain medical records may or may not be deemed waived by commencing a New Mexico auto accident.  

A clear example would be if you suffered a broken foot, your dental records would not be relevant to proving or disproving your case—even if you suffered from a serious condition like periodontal disease.  

However, if you suffered a broken foot and claimed that you can no longer go running or engage in other physical activities due to the way the injury healed or still hurts you, your medical records related to a back injury or neck injury—even if totally unrelated—may still be relevant and deemed waived.  Meaning that you would need to disclose these records.  This is because a back or neck injury would affect your ability to run or engage in physical activity.  

Additionally, it is important to note that individuals suffering from a brain injury such as a traumatic brain injury, may be required to provide all of their medical records.  This is because it is commonly alleged that a brain injury affects a person’s daily and customary activities.  Thus, any type of impairments related to your health, including even periodontal disease, could affect the value of your case and may be deemed waived.  Meaning you would need to disclose these medical records as well.  This is not a blanket rule, and there may be exceptions, but this is generally the applicable rule.

Injured in a New Mexico Auto Accident?  Learn How We Can Help Protect All Your Rights

One aspect of your personal injury case that most lawyers fail to do is protect your rights, all of them.  Many lawyers will just throw out any of your medical records that are requested, even if irrelevant.  Here at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., our experienced New Mexico auto accident lawyer will always work to protect all of your rights.  We ensure that the invasion to your privacy caused by the negligence of another driver is kept to a minimum so you can maintain your privacy and focus on healing.

We handle cases throughout New Mexico, including in Lordsburg, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Roswell, Las Cruces, or anywhere else in New Mexico. Call the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn how we can help and to schedule your FREE consultation.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.