Veterinarian gave my personal information to the driver who hit and killed my dog...

by Tammie
(Saranac, MI, US)

I reside in Michigan. My dog jumped the fence in my yard and ran into the road and was hit by a car. There were several people at the scene of the accident trying to aid in helping to save my dog's life. One of the kind souls suggested an emergency care vet that would be open at that late hour. I indicated that was were I would take him so the kind gentlemen helped me load my badly injured dog into my van. The person that hit my dog was present and overheard this.

She called the vet later and the vet gave her my personal information. She later used that information to file a claim against me for damages to her vehicle for her hitting my dog! My dog had to be put down because his back was broken and he was paralyzed from the accident.

Is it against the law for the vet to have given her my personal information? Also, how would I go about getting reimbursement for my very expensive vet bills I had to pay to have my dog seen and put to sleep due to this accident? Thanks so much for your time and help in this matter.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Veterinarian gave my personal information to the driver who hit and killed my dog...":

Tammie (Saranac, MI, US):

We checked to see if veterinarians were subject to the relatively new HIPAA laws and regulations. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and restricts medical care providers from providing any information to third parties without the express written consent of the patient.

Regrettably HIPAA doesn’t apply to veterinarians. The veterinarian may have acted inappropriately, but she broke no laws nor did she violate ay regulations regarding the release of information about animals to 3rd parties.

We also checked Michigan’s laws regarding veterinarians and the release of information about animals under their care. We could find no such restrictions.

Just because the woman who hit your dog filed a claim, or is trying to file a claim, doesn’t make her correct. But she may have a case since your dog was unrestrained and ran into the street. It's a dog owner's responsibility to make sure their dog is properly restrained, or in your case, fenced in. The insurance company’s Claims Adjuster will initiate an investigation into the accident, but you should check with a personal injury attorney about the specifics of your case.

You might also check with your homeowners insurance company. They may also consider reimbursing you for the veterinary bills you incurred.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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