Medical records can be some of the most important documents in a personal injury case. They show injuries, changes to injuries, and other potential information that can help you secure compensation after an injury. It should come as no surprise, then, at some point in your personal injury case you will likely need to request copies of your medical records to use in discovery, settlement, and trial. Here at Dennis Hernandez & Associates, we know how difficult this process can be, and we are here to help.
Insurance companies, on either side, will rely on medical records to assess damages, determine settlement offers, and formulate arguments for trial. Medical records are heavily scrutinized by insurance companies and opposing counsel. Accuracy of records are essential to show credibility and to make sure that your injuries are real.
What About a Victim’s Privacy?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) was enacted to provide protection to an individual’s private health information. Through HIPPA, there are limitations in who can see your medical records or request copies of those medical records. In order for you medical records to be released, you must sign a HIPPA authorization form. Without this signed and notarized authorization, no one will be able to request your medical records.
Even with the signed authorization form, there are often delays in the hospital or health services provider sending the records. It is best to send a letter with the HIPPA authorization that outlines the timeframe in which you need the medical records. Set a time limit, 30 days is standard, in which you need to receive the records. After sending the initial request, following up on that request can ensure that your request was received, the request was sent to the right place, and that the request is being worked on.
Not only is it important to obtain medical records, it is equally, if not more important, to obtain complete medical records. You do not want a missing document to derail your entire personal injury case. Make a copy of every document you receive from your medical providers. Do not change the order of pages or alter the documents in any way, then store those copies in a safe place. It can also be helpful to save all envelopes or materials in which the documents arrived. In the event of a date discrepancy, the envelope can be used to verify a date sent or received.
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, or you need an attorney to take over a personal injury case you have already filed, Dennis Hernandez & Associates can help. Our experienced attorneys know how to handle medical records and use them to get you the best recovery possible. Contact us today to find out how we can help assert your legal rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.