Virginia Personal Injury Communications: Va. Code Ann. §8.01-399 (Amended) – a Lawyer’s Privilege

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Senate Bill 1275 passed the 2009 Virginia General Assembly. Effective July 1, 2009, it amends Va. Code Ann. §8.01-399.

That statute codifies the so-called “physician-patient” privilege. That privilege renders confidential from disclosure communications between patients and physicians in the course of treatment for brain injuries and other personal injuries.

Before the amendment, overly aggressive physicians asserted that the privilege was theirs to waive, and disclosed confidential information of their patients to help defense-oriented interests, such as other healthcare providers committing medical malpractice, vehicle accident offenders, defective product manufacturers, defective premises owners, sexual abuse perpetrators and other criminals. But the statutory amendment is clear that the patient alone will control whether any privilege is waived and confidential communication is disclosed.