We all have an expectation of privacy with regard to our medical records. However, when you file a Tennessee workers compensation claim you will lose much of that privacy. Understandably, if you have a work injury the employer has a right to know the extent of the injury when resolving your case. The difficulty arises with the employer want to go beyond the medical records related to injury and dig into medical history that is not related. As a Tennessee Workers Comp lawyer I have faced this battle several times. So what are your rights?
To have some guidance we need to look at the TN workers comp act. Here is part of the relevant language:
It is the intent of the general assembly that the administration of the workers’ compensation system proceed in a timely manner and that the parties and the department have reasonable access to the employee’s medical records and medical providers that are pertinent to and necessary for the swift resolution of the employee’s workers’ compensation claim.
So the big question becomes what is “pertinent to and necessary” . Generally, this depends on your claim. If you have a back injury then the employer may have a right to all of your prior orthopedic records. They would argue these records are necessary to see if your injury is the result of a prior condition. However, if you have a broken leg then prior records probably aren’t relevant. The bottom line is that you will lose some medical privacy if you file a claim. However, the lose of that privacy should be very limited. A doctor patient privilege is a time honored relationship and it should stay that way as much as possible.
If you have a Tennessee on the job injury and need assistance please feel free to email or call one of our Nashville workers compensation lawyers.