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Recent case expands the Petrillo Doctrine

In 1986, the 1st District held in Pertillo v. Syntex Laboratories, 148 Ill.App.3d 581, (Ill. 1st Dist. 1986), that defendants may not have ex-parte communications with a plaintiff's physician. The Court ruled that such ex-parte discussions could threaten the confidential and fiduciary relationship between a doctor and their patient. It is easy to imagine a scenario where an insurance company would "suggest" to a medical provider that an injury did not arise out of an accident, or was not work-related, or was not severe in an effort to limit their exposure. So what does this all mean? In plain English, this means that your insurance company (or any of their representatives) cannot talk to your doctor. If they do, those communications cannot be admitted as evidence in your pending trial. Since Petrillo, Illinois courts have continued to expand the Petrillo doctrine. Now, defendants are not permitted to communicate with health-care providers that "assisted" in the medical treatment to the plaintiff or even communicate with non-medical professionals who merely have access to the plaintiff's medical records. On May 10, 2011, the 1st District further expanded the Petrillo doctrine in a case Aylward v. Settecase (unpublished). In Aylward, the 1st District held that the Petrillo doctrine applies to any employee, or corporate entity, which may be involved with the medical care of a plaintiff. Accordingly, you can rest assured that your doctor will not be influenced by the insurance company in Illinois. Steven J. Morton & Associates will continue to follow the progression of the Petrillo doctrine.

Categories: Update in the Law

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