Work-Product Privilege extended to PIP IME

Posted Monday, January 21, 2013 by Ed Harper

Under the Harris v. Drake case, the court dealt with the question whether the independent medical exam (IME) doctor who performed an exam based on PIP coverage was work-product of that patient’s insurance company. The court said the opposing counsel in the third party case would not be allowed to call this doctor as a witness in trial.

The court’s reasoning was such that an insured had a reasonable expectation that medical information obtained by the insurer in an IME will remain confidential, Even though the information was obtained in anticipation of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage arbitration haring, the court decided the interests of the two were aligned in a third party case. The insurer had requested the plaintiff to represent its subrogation interests against the defendant. Therefore, the work-product privilege applies to the PIP insurer’s independent medical exam.

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