Getting Medical Records for Your Injury Claim
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Mar 29, 2018 in Personal Injury
One of the most important sources of evidence in a personal injury claim is medical records. It is critical for the potential success of your claim to document your injuries and your recovery.
Obtaining your medical records is the first step in proving your claim. Experienced personal injury lawyers will use these records to help investigate your claim and calculate the value of your injuries.
The legal team at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak can answer any questions you have about your rights to your medical information. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case, and we charge no fees unless we are able to help you obtain compensation.
Complete our Free Case Evaluation form so we can review your claim.
Privacy Laws Related to Medical Records
State and federal laws govern how you and others may access your medical records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) strictly protects the privacy of your personal health information. This law guarantees your right to obtain copies of your own medical records while also preventing the unauthorized release of these records to others.
HIPAA also establishes regulations for accessing your medical records, including:
- Fees for copying your medical records
- Locations where you can view your records
- How long medical providers have to respond to requests for records
Requesting Your Medical Records
Indiana law requires that a health care professional provide a patient with his or her medical records if requested. Most health care facilities have simple forms that you can complete in order to request your medical records.
These requests must usually be completed in writing and authorized by you personally. If you are unable to request your own records, your attorney may be able to request these records on your behalf, or your agent through a valid power of attorney may request these records. Indiana law requires health care providers to retain medical records for a minimum of seven years.
You should request every medical record from all of your medical providers for the entirety of your treatment related to your injuries from the accident. If you had a pre-existing condition or a previous accident, it is important to notify your lawyer about this information.
Indiana law also allows certain individuals to request medical records in the event an accident resulted in the death of a loved one. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can request medical records. If there is no personal representative, the person’s surviving spouse can request them. If there is no spouse, a child or parent of the person can request the records.
Release of Information
It is in your best interest to have your lawyer review any requested forms before you sign. This way, you will ensure that you do not sign anything that provides unnecessary access.
Insurance companies have many tactics to attempt to reduce the amount of compensation owed to you, including:
- Asking you to sign a release of information form. If you sign this form, HIPAA laws do not prohibit your medical provider from sharing your medical records with that insurance company and its agents.
- Finding information related to a pre-existing condition that occurred years before the current accident.
- Giving you blank forms to sign. Do not sign these, as they may later fill out these blanks to make the request as broad as possible.
- Asking you to sign a medical release form. Your attorney may help obtain this information on your behalf and then provide copies of only relevant information to the insurance company.
Contact a Lawyer for Help Obtaining Your Medical Records
When you are injured in an accident, it can be difficult to gather evidence while you are trying to concentrate on your recovery. A lawyer can take the steps necessary to obtain your medical records from your accident. He or she can use this information to help prove your claim and to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak for a free consultation with an experienced South Bend injury lawyer.