Why Does Lawyer Landau Need to See My Pre-Injury Medical Records?

Why does Lawyer Landau need to see my pre-injury medical records?

Medical records prior to an injury are crucial evidence in personal injury cases. The defendant’s insurance company, whether it’s the airport, airline, or other party, will review these records to assess the traveler’s health condition before the alleged negligent incident, as part of the claims process.

It is important to be truthful and explain to your counsel any pre-existing injuries you have sustained prior to your claim. Failure to do so will lead to unwanted surprises, as insurance companies will already have access to your files even before the lawsuit is filed.

Airline Injury Lawyer Doug Landau says that insurance companies, third-party administrators (TPAs), and risk management departments at nearly every single airline with which he has had a claim, will “index” for an injured traveler, even before a lawsuit is filed.

“Indexing” means that the insurance company will accumulate data from other insurance companies, TPAs, and health plans, regarding the potential plaintiff, even before a lawsuit is filed or counsel is hired. They will find out about prior: claims, lawsuits, bankruptcies, criminal records, divorces, litigation, and Worker’s Compensation claims, as well as billing from health insurance, benefits paid by Long and Short Term Disability plans, and other evidence of litigiousness, etc.

While the HIPAA Laws prevent the airport, airline, or their insurance company from looking at private medical records at this stage of the proceedings, if they see $10,000 in bills paid by a Health Insurance to an Orthopedic Practice, they have a good idea to believe that there was a fracture that needed treatment. In short, insurance companies have a great deal of information at their disposal soon after an airport or aircraft injury.

Furthermore, many injured travelers freely give written statements at the scene, or shortly thereafter, which are designed by the insurance industry to be used effectively against potential claimants and their lawyers if the case goes to court.

Travelers injured at Los Angeles International Airport (“LAX”), like those in accidents at Washington Dulles and Reagan National International Airports, are surprised to find out that the insurance company has information about them and the defense lawyers will be able to get their pre-accident medical, work and other records! While preventing insurance fraud is a good thing, for many, the information in the insurance company lawyers’ files seems like a huge invasion of privacy.

Once a lawsuit has been filed, the defense lawyers for the airport authority or airline will send a Subpoena. A Subpoena is a judicial request for all medical records, bills, and testing relative to the injury claim. In addition, it will request information that preceded the injury so that they can then have evidence of pre-existing conditions, unrelated medical care, and “subsequent, intervening, or superseding injuries, and/or complicating factors due to the person’s pre-injury health. Liability insurers routinely discount the value of an injury case where the injured victim has significant: pre-existing conditions, other accident claims, several lawsuits, post-accident injuries, significant medication use, and other “actuarial factors.”

The Abrams Landau Airline and Airport Injury Team gathers the medical records, pre-injury physicals, and other medical information so that we can correctly assess our clients’ pre-injury health, value the case, and understand what evidence may be used against the claim. It is important to be upfront with your legal counsel about prior conditions, illnesses, and/or medications. Failure to be open and honest can lead to surprises during Deposition and trial. “The best surprises are no surprises,” as they say in the hotel commercials, and it’s true in the personal injury case setting as well!

If your counsel knows about potentially harmful pieces of evidence, the Abrams Landau Team can work to prevent its introduction at trial.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured at an airport or on-board an aircraft, and there are questions about the laws, evidence, and material necessary for a successful case, please contact us at 703–796–9055, or email frontdesk@landaulawshop.com.