Ottawa Accident Lawyers – Privacy versus Access to Information Why do I need to sign directions to release information and documents to my lawyer? At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, after helping our clients with thousands of claims, we have come to notice that many of our new clients have very similar questions about the ins and outs of starting a claim and bringing it to a successful conclusion. One of the questions that we are often asked by new clients is ‘What is a direction and why do I need to sign them? ‘ In Ontario, every person has a right to privacy. Therefore, in order for your personal injury lawyer to access records kept about you by other people, your lawyer needs you to sign a direction directed to those other persons allowing them to share their files with or speak with your accident lawyer. Think of a direction form as a permission slip. A signed direction is your way of giving permission to third parties such as Revenue Canada and your doctors to share information with us about you and your legal matter. Directions, sometimes also called authorizations allow your personal injury lawyer to contact third parties to obtain the information they need to help advance your injury claim and prove certain elements of your claim such as loss of income or your injuries. There are many different types of directions because there are many different pieces of information that your personal injury lawyer will need to get you the best settlement possible. Some directions are very general and others are very specific to the type of information that is being requested. One of the most common and essential directions is an OHIP direction. OHIP keeps a detailed record of every time you visit a doctor, hospital or use an OHIP covered service. This record is called a decoded OHIP summary. A decoded OHIP summary allows your personal injury lawyer to find all the doctors, clinics and hospitals that you’ve visited in the last 7 years which makes requesting medical documents much easier. An original signed copy of the OHIP direction is always required to obtain these records and photocopies or fax copies are often not accepted. This helps protect your privacy. Requesting medical documents from your doctors or records from your insurance company is one of the first steps that we take when opening a new file. Medical or other records of your injuries go a long way to validating your claim to an insurance company. Directions are required to obtain all sorts of information that your personal injury lawyer will need to pursue a claim including: • Employment records ; • Medical records; • Police records; • Government documents ; • Income tax documents ; • Insurance records; and • School records. This list is only a sample. As you can see, the number of documents that your personal injury lawyer may need is extensive. Each of these requests requires your authorization and as such when you are beginning your claim there are a number of directions for you to sign. As well, throughout the process of litigation updated records or new records may be required which may require additional authorizations be signed. Although signing all these directions may leave your hand a little tired, they allow your personal injury lawyer to get to work and start advancing your injury claim. At QTMG we strive to provide our clients with the best possible outcomes and settlements for their personal injury claims. If you have suffered a personal injury, our experienced personal injury lawyers are here to help you. Please contact us for a free consultation at 613-315-4878. No fee until we settle.