RIGHT TO PRIVACY FOR PERSONAL INJURY LITIGANTS
Seven years ago, I wrote an article about privacy for plaintiffs pursuing lawsuits for their physical injuries. Many times, a plaintiff might be forced to provide or allow inspection of very private information, including details from their doctor visits, medical records, pay stubs, W-2’s, information about their employment, earnings, and benefits, identification information like driver’s license numbers or social security numbers, and information about their health and automobile insurance.
In today’s modern social environment, it has become increasingly important to manage one’s personal and private information in order to protect against identity theft, fraud, and the like. Here at Heiting & Irwin, we believe that mere participation in a lawsuit should not automatically waive someone’s right to privacy.
For example, in the course of a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff’s personal information is often collected by a professional photocopier who makes distribution to the appropriate parties. These professional photocopiers are required by law to keep copies of the information collected for at least 6 months after the final resolution of the legal matter. Code of Civil Procedure, Section 2020.440. Maintenance of those files arguably creates a risk of exposing that personal information, especially in light of the ever-advancing developments in electronic technology and criminal activity.
However, the best defense, as it were, is a good offense, and the skilled attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are experienced in navigating the waters of discovery. We work tirelessly and diligently to protect our clients’ rights to keep their personal information private by narrowly tailoring the scope of discovery to only those matters at issue in the case. By doing so, we limit the invasiveness of the litigation process by protecting from disclosure as much personal information as possible.
While most clients are not thinking about protecting their personal information when they first call us, we are on the job from day one. We offer free consultations, a warm and inviting office, and a friendly staff to anyone interested in speaking about a potential legal matter with a law firm with over 40 years of experience in catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, auto and motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, premises liability, products liability, elder abuse/nursing home negligence, and Worker’s Compensation claims.