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Is a Petitioner in a Workers’ Compensation Claim Able to Obtain Copies of His or Her Authorized Treating Records?

Many people who have filed a Worker’s Compensation claim in New Jersey ask whether they are entitled to copies of their treating  medical records from the health providers authorized by their employer’s insurance carrier. The answer is yes. Under the Worker’s Compensation Act, specifically NJSA 34:15-128.4, it is unlawful for an employer, insurance carrier or treating physician to withhold medical information requested by the petitioner. In addition, the rules of the New Jersey Medical Society require the release of such medical records. The records from a physician directly must be supplied at a cost specified by the Board of Medical Examiners. However, as a practical matter, when a petitioner has a formal claim pending his or her attorney requests the treating records from the attorneys for the employer or insurance carrier, which are supplied at no cost.

There is a distinction, however, between the records of a physician or other health provider who actually treated the petitioner, and what is known as an independent medical examination (IME). With respect to the treating providers, a physician/patient relationship exists. With an IME, however, this is a one-time examination scheduled by the employer or insurance carrier to give an opinion as to the need for further treatment, disability or perhaps other issues. An IME does not create a physician/patient relationship, and therefore the reports are sent to the party requesting the IME. At the appropriate time the petitioner’s attorney will be supplied with the report. If you are having difficulty obtaining your authorized treating records, you should contact your attorney immediately.



About this Author

Alfred Vitarelli, Workers Compensation Attorney, Stark Law Firm

Alfred P. Vitarelli is a Shareholder and member of Stark & Stark’s Workers’ Compensation Group where he focuses his practice primarily on Workers’ Compensation litigation. Mr. Vitarelli has practiced Worker's Compensation law throughout New Jersey since 1981.

Mr. Vitarelli is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law and was an active Alumni Board member and Officer, including serving a term as Alumni Chancellor.  From 1994 to 2010, Mr. Vitarelli was an Adjunct Professor at Widener University’s Wilmington campus teaching Workers’...