Posted on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 12:57 pm
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, such as in a car accident, Kentucky law now gives the person that hurt you the right to contact your doctor about your medical treatment. The question is whether your doctor is required to talk to the person that hurt you, and what your doctor is allowed to tell that person.
In Caldwell v. Castro, the Kentucky Supreme Court just decided that Kentucky law does allow someone else to contact your doctor without you or your attorney present, and without being in a courtroom or without a licensed court reporter present. That person is then allowed to ask the doctor all kinds of questions about your personal medical treatment, both before and after the accident that hurt you, even if that person is the one that hurt you in the first place. Talk about an invasion of your privacy!
However, there is always fine print to read and this fine print is very important. The Kentucky Supreme Court said that HIPAA is a factor here. HIPAA is the law that makes all your medical information private. Even though another person is allowed to contact your doctor and ask all kinds of personal questions about you without getting in trouble, that doesn’t mean your doctor is required to answer those questions. On the contrary, both HIPAA and the Kentucky Medical Licensure Board’s code of ethics requires a doctor to keep a patient’s information confidential. Thus, before a doctor can release your medical information to the opposing party in a lawsuit, the doctor must have either a) an authorization signed by you, or b) an order from the Court specifically requiring the doctor to disclose protected medical information.
The Caldwell opinion is probably going to create a problem: people liable for injuries but desperate to get out of their duty to pay for their bad actions are going to call the injured person’s doctors looking for something to give them a get-out-of-jail free card. Doctors need to know that they are not allowed to give this information away freely! Make sure you tell your doctor that you do not feel comfortable with him or her discussing your medical history with someone else, and specifically instruct them not to do so without your permission. That is your right, and it should be protected.
At Lawrence & Associates, we represent Kentucky and Ohio clients in all forms of personal injury claims, from car accidents to product liability claims. We’re Working Hard for the Working Class, and we’d be proud to represent you. Call today!