Why Is My Medical History Important in a Tennessee Personal Injury Claim?

I am in a lawsuit over a car accident that wasn’t my fault.  The insurance company wants to see my old medical records.  What does my past medical treatment have to do with my  car wreck case involving a broken hip? 

Answer: Your medical history is important in any case in which you are claiming to have suffered a physical or psychological injury as a result of someone else’s negligent or intentional act. Your medical history establishes the baseline of your physical or psychological well being before the injury. You can only recover in the lawsuit for the injury caused by the act or omission of the responsible person. You may not recover damages for physical and mental suffering or medical care necessitated by preexisting conditions. When a preexisting condition is made worse you can recover damages for the worsening of the condition. Your medical history will be important to proving this claim. 

In your particular case, the insurance company will be looking to see if you had a prior hip problem or other medical problem that affected your overall well-being or your able to work or enjoy recreational activities.  

The mere fact you were in a wreck doesn’t mean that the insurance company has an automatic right to look at all of your medical records since the date you were born.  An experienced Tennessee car accident lawyer can often limit the scope of the record review by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.


John Day represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims.  He is board-certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and, in fact, served as President of the organization. He is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  His book, "Day on Torts:   Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law," is used by judges and lawyers across Tennessee to further their understanding of personal injury and wrongful death law in Tennessee.  In 2009, Best Lawyers named John "Best Personal Injury Lawyer" for Nashville; he was the first recipient of that award. Best Lawyers also  named John as "Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Nashville" for 2010.   John does not charge for an initial consultation and accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent  fee basis.  You can reach him by telephone at 615.742.4880 or by email by clicking here.  The toll-free number is 866-812-8787.

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