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Why does my personal injury solicitor need to see a copy of my medical records?

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How can I view my medical records?

Have you ever wondered why, when pursuing a claim for personal injury, your solicitor needs to see a copy of your medical records?

It is necessary for your solicitor to obtain a full copy of your medical records when you are pursuing a claim for injuries sustained in an accident. These are usually requested from your GP and any hospital or physiotherapist you may have attended as a result of the accident.

This may seem unnecessary to you, but it is a required part of pursuing your personal injury claim. Your medical records will allow your solicitor to link the accident you have had to the injury you have sustained, and to make sure that there are no relevant pre-existing conditions or symptoms which could impact the claim. Your medical records are usually obtained before your solicitor instructs a medico-legal expert to examine you and prepare a medical report on your injuries.

The majority of records are received digitally and are saved direct to your file, but there are some GP’s and hospitals that are still providing hard copies. These will be added digitally to your file and the hard copies will be destroyed when your claim has settled. Your solicitor and the medico-legal expert have to follow rules which are set out in the General Data Protection Act 2018 to ensure that your records remain confidential at all times. They are unable to disclose any information about you or any other person unless agreed by you or ordered by the court.

Who sees my records during my claim?

Your records are supplied to your solicitor when you provide them with a signed GDPR consent form containing the details of your GP surgery, hospital or physiotherapist. This form is usually contained with the initial documentation sent out at the beginning of your claim. Your solicitor will have first sight of the medical records and will take the time to review them to make sure that your accident details are recorded accurately, and as stated above, that there are no pre-existing conditions or symptoms. The records will then be sent to a medical agency, by secure email, and then forwarded onto the medical expert to review them in order to assist with the completion of his medical report. Once produced this should contain a review of the records along with an opinion and prognosis. 

It is to be noted however that in certain situations, particularly if court proceedings are required, it may be necessary to disclose your medical records to your opponent’s legal representative or insurers or their medical expert if they have instructed one. They will also have to follow the rules set by the General Data Protection Act 2018 and won’t be able to disclose the contents of your medical records to any other person/organisation without your consent. 

If there is particularly sensitive information contained within your medical records that is not relevant to your claim, for example, the names of relatives, then this information will be removed from your records before they are disclosed. This is usually done by GP surgeries or hospitals who will redact references to third parties in your records, before they are sent to us, as their details cannot be disclosed without your consent.

You can rest assured that your records will remain confidential and never be made public while making a personal injury claim. Any person/organisation that sees a copy of your records in connection with your claim will have to follow the rules of the General Data Protection Act 2018 and they should never disclose records or details to others that are not connected with your claim.

We hope that this helps with the answer to the question of "why does my personal injury solicitor need to see a copy of my medical records."

If you have been involved in an accident and would like to speak to a personal injury specialist about a potential claim please call our team on 0161 696 6235.

By Stephanie Greenhalgh, paralegal in the personal injury team