Los Angeles DUI and Medical Records

  • May 25, 2017

    When a victim files a claim against an individual for injuries that were obtained during an accident, which took place when the defendant was driving under the influence, the victim’s medical records may need to be obtained by the defense. Although medical records are typically protected under HIPAA, there are circumstances where they can be obtained through a subpoena. Medical records, such as these, can reveal vital evidence that could prove useful when building a solid DUI with injury defense case. An individual facing a DUI with injury charge may have problems obtaining victim’s medical records without an attorney, which is why defendants should retain a Los Angeles DUI lawyer with experience obtaining victim’s medical records.

    In many DUI offenses, an attorney will request an informal discovery for evidence that is held by the prosecution or law enforcement. Individuals who were driving under the influence, which resulted in the injury of another individual, are in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23153 VC. The medical records of the victim are pertinent for determining if the driver was responsible for the injury. However, obtaining the victim’s medical records may be difficult because it is unlikely the prosecutor or law enforcement agency will have the victim’s medical records. In these cases, subpoenas may be served on healthcare professionals, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities to get the victim’s records.

    There are times when the defendant may also want to provide his or her medical records. However, this is only common when there is a medical condition that supports the defense. For example, an individual with a stomach condition could produce an odor that gives a false BAC when having a breath test administered. Although most defendants will be able to get their medical records without a subpoena, it could be needed to make certain the healthcare professional provides the medical records when they are needed.

    California Vehicle Code Section 23153 VC. states that any DUI that resulted in an injury is a “wobbler” offense, which means the offense can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor. A prosecutor will typically take into consideration how severe the injury was when deciding if the defendant will face a misdemeanor or felony charge. It is necessary for the defendant to obtain the victim’s medical records because they may demonstrate the injury was not as serious as it was first believed to be, which may lead the prosecution to reduce charges. Furthermore, the victim’s medical records could also show the victim’s injury was preexisting and was not a result of the defendants actions. A DUI causing injury charge will more than likely have to be dismissed when a preexisting condition was discovered.

    Once the defense has received the victim’s medical records through a subpoena, an attorney will usually discuss the records with a medical expert. The medical expert may also write a report or provide testimony on behalf of the defendant. A medical expert can be a critical factor when preparing a strong DUI with injury defense case.

    In cases where a defendant has been convicted of DUI with injury, there may still be cause to subpoena the victim’s medical records, which is primarily when the victim seeks retribution. The victim’s medical records could show there was a preexisting or nonexistent injury, which could lead to a reduced or dismissed charge.

    Those who have been charged with a DUI with injury offense need to contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney immediately. It is extremely difficult for a defendant to build a solid DUI with injury case without the help of an experienced attorney. An attorney who has handled DUI with injury and medical records cases before understands what needs to be done to build a strong defense.

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