Medical records are not always relevant in court, but they can be crucial and a complete game changer for some specific cases. For instance, they can be particularly useful for elucidating the motives of an individual. Medical records can reveal how a given individual’s medical condition may have influenced their actions.
That is just one example, when relevant to a specific case these records can reveal much more. Some medical conditions, for example, require a person to be on prescribed medication. At times, these drugs can have secondary effects that may affect the individual’s behaviour and decision-making.
Medical records and the guidelines for their use in court
Although attorneys can subpoena someone’s medical history for use in civil and criminal cases, there are strict rules and guidelines as to their proper use. This is to protect individuals since medical records are confidential. However, if specific records are necessary and relevant to a given case they must be revealed for examination.
Attorneys or private investigators responsible for sending said subpoena must of course address it to the person in charge of the relevant medical records. Full disclosure of the necessary records and relevancy of the given data must be specified in detail.
Under most circumstances, in the United States, healthcare insurance companies and healthcare providers are responsible for protecting patients’ health records and information.
So often times in order to access a patient’s records they must petition the court for an order to the relevant medical facility.
Where else may the review of these records be required?
Life insurance companies may often wish to review medical records for specific reasons. For instance, they may want to review someone’s records to confirm the cause of death of a family member. This would be before releasing any insurance proceeds.
Attorneys can also use medical records to put a party’s credibility into question. For example, a questionable witness. This, of course, can go both ways. A party’s relevant records could also be used to defend their actions in court. Since, as previously stated, their medical condition or medication could have affected their actions or decision-making abilities. So it could show, for instance, that regrettable actions they took or decisions they made were not under their full control.
If you find yourself in need of a licensed private investigator and their particular set of skills, please feel free to call us. Or simply click on this link to get in contact with one of our team members.