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Pre-Accident Records: How Far Back?

In discoveries in personal injury actions, there is sometimes disagreement over how far back a plaintiff’s medical records should be produced.

In Imbrogno v. Gonzalez, 2019 ONSC 6404, the court determined that records and information from 17 years prior to the incident in question were relevant.

The plaintiff sued over a motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2016. She had been injured in a prior motor vehicle accident in 1999.

The plaintiff never returned to work following the accident in 1999 and sought medical attention for the injuries sustained in that accident in the years leading up to the accident in 2016.

On discovery, the defendants requested production of medical records from 1999 onwards. The plaintiff only agreed to provide records from three years prior to the accident in 2016.

On a refusals motion, Justice Christie agreed with the defendants’ position. She said that the medical records from 1999 would seem to be essential to a determination of “thin skull” or “crumbling skull” issues. She indicated that, if the injuries from the 1999 accident made the plaintiff more prone or susceptible to some medical condition currently suffered, the records are relevant.

Similarly, Justice Christie ordered production of medical-legal reports relating to the 1999 accident.

Moreover, the plaintiff was ordered to provide information on the amounts she received for future medical/rehabilitation and housekeeping in relation to the 1999 accident. Justice Christie said that this is relevant to ensure there is no double compensation.

The plaintiff was also required to provide information on her work in 1999 and whether her failure to return to work was due to the 1999 accident, even though a loss of income claim was not being pursued. Justice Christie said that this information is still relevant to the plaintiff’s current claim for loss of housekeeping.

This decision demonstrates that there is no hard and fast rule on how far back a plaintiff’s productions should be produced. It depends on the plaintiff’s condition at the time of the accident in issue and whether pre-accident injuries or illnesses could be affecting the plaintiff and whether there are any issues of double compensation.

At a minimum, three years of pre-accident records should be considered necessary to assess a plaintiff’s pre-accident status. In other cases, however, records and information dating back five, 10, or more than 20 years may be relevant.