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Gathering Personal Injury Evidence - If you have been injured because of another person or organization’s negligence

@FauziTMG
10/17/2016
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Gathering Personal Injury Evidence - If you have been injured because of another person or organization’s negligence?

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If you have been injured because of another person or organization’s negligence, you may be preparing to file a suit for damages.

Gathering Personal Injury Evidence

If you have been injured because of another person or organization’s negligence, you may be preparing to file a suit for damages. There is no single piece of evidence more important than the records of your medical treatment, and the amount of damages offered or awarded to you could hinge on these vital documents. It can sometimes be challenging to procure these records, however, you should know that you are entitled by law to get copies of them. To learn about your rights to your medical records, read on.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

You likely have encountered HIPAA notices when visiting medical facilities. This act had wide-ranging effects on patient privacy, foremost, but also addressed the patient’s right to access their own medical records. HIPAA states that medical facilities must comply with a patient’s request for their medial records within 30 days of the written request. Furthermore, HIPAA puts limits on the amount the facilities may charge the patient for the copies. The medical office must inform you in writing of any denials to your medical records request.

How to Request Your Records

Since the rules for requesting these records vary slightly from state to state, call the medical facility itself to find out how their process works. Normally you will need to sign a release form and the medical facilities will sometimes provide you with a form that specifies exactly what documents you are requesting.
If not, prepare a letter and include the following:

  • Name, address and phone number
  • Email address
  • Date of birth

The dates of records you are requesting. It’s important to only request the date range that pertains to your accident, or you could end up with a large copying fee and reams of unrelated paperwork.

Be aware that your doctor may have used outside facilities for some testing and treatments, so check your own paperwork, such as receipts and billing statements, to ensure that your records are complete. Once you receive your records, review them carefully for omissions or poor copies.

If several weeks have passed and you suspect the medical facility is not properly complying with your request, you have the option to file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services or your state’s medical board. You should keep in mind that these government offices often take some time to address your concerns.

Personal injury claims are subject to a statute of limitations in every state, so if you are experiencing issues with your medical record requests, you are potentially wasting valuable time. Contact a personal injury attorney (like those at Terrence Salerno Law Office), who has experience working with medical facilities to get you your records in a complete and timely manner, and to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.