Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How Do You Obtain Copies Of Medical Records For a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If you are involved in a Clearwater accident with an automobile or motorcycle and you have sustained injuries, it may be necessary to obtain copies of your medical records.  If it becomes necessary for you to file a personal injury lawsuit, those medical records may become a key component of your case if you need to demonstrate the extent of any injuries.  

You Have a Right to Your Clearwater Medical Records

The federal Health Information Portability[1] and Accountability Act (HIPAA) gives patients the right to obtain a copy of their medical records from any medical provider, with a few exceptions. According to HIPAA, you may request:

          Individual Records: You can request copies of your own medical records.

          Designated Representative:  You can obtain the medical records of another individual if you are a designated representative. You may request someone else's medical records if they give you permission, in writing, to act as their representative in accessing records such as when an elderly parent designates a representative.

                Legal Guardian:  You can obtain the records belonging to another person if you are their legal guardian. Likewise, if you are appointed as the legal guardian of another adult, you have the legal right to get that person's medical records.

                Child Records:  If you are a parent, you are allowed to obtain the child’s medical records.  There are exceptions to this rule which prevent a parent from obtaining the child’s medical records:

                the child has consented to medical care and parental consent is not required under state law

                the child gets medical care at the direction of a court, or

                the parent agrees that the minor and the medical provider have a confidential relationship.

                Records of a Deceased Person:  If you are the personal representative of an estate, either designated by a will or appointed by a court to settle the affairs of a deceased person, you can obtain their medical records. 

What Type of Clearwater Medical Records Can an Individual Obtain?

HIPAA gives patients the right to get copies of all of their medical records. Patients also have the right to view their original medical records. HIPAA does allow health care providers to withhold certain types of medical records, including:

                psychotherapy notes

                information the provider is gathering and compiling for lawsuits, and

                medical information that the provider believes could reasonably endanger your life, your physical safety, or the safety of another person.

Further, Section 456.057(5) of the Florida Statutes[2] provides that a physician must, upon request, furnish the patient or its legal representative with a copy of "all reports and records relating to [the patient's] examination or treatment...(other than AIDS, mental, and substance abuse records)," although a psychiatrist or psychologist may substitute a report of the examination in lieu of the medical record.

If a patient requests a copy of his/her medical records, it is very important that the physician provide the patient with a complete copy of all the records, which would include, at a minimum, patient histories; examination results; test results; records of drugs prescribed, dispensed, or administered; reports of consultations and hospitalizations; and copies of records or reports or other documentation obtained from other health care practitioners at the request of the physician and relied upon by the physician in determining the appropriate treatment of the patient, even those records obtained from another physician.  Section 456.057(4) and (13), Florida Statutes, Rule 64B8-9.003(3), Florida Administrative Code[3].

If the provider denies a request for medical records, it must provide a denial letter. In some cases, an individual can appeal the denial.

How Long Does it Take to Receive Medical Records in Clearwater?

HIPAA requires medical providers to provide copies of medical records within 30 days of your request. If it will take more than 30 days to meet your request, the medical provider must give you a reason for the delay. 

Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney

At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, our team of highly skilled personal injury lawyers can explain all of the different types of medical records to which you are entitled if you have been injured in a Florida accident.  Our personal injury lawyers have helped many victims obtain the recovery they deserve for their injuries and related losses. Please call our office at (727) 222-6922 today.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922


Friday, March 4, 2016

Who Is Liable For An Alcohol Related St. Petersburg Injury?

In 2014, there was 807 alcohol-related[1] accident fatalities in the State of Florida.  Each state has laws that allow an injured person to seek compensation when another person causes an accident. When alcohol is involved, several states also have laws that allow an injured person to seek compensation from a third party, like the bar or social host, that provided the alcohol. 

Florida Statutes section 768.125[2] provides the specifics of the state's dram shop law as follows:

“A person who sells of furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age shall not thereby become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person, except that a person who willfully and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age or who knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person.

Florida's statute does not mention serving alcohol to someone who is or appears to be intoxicated as it does in other states.  Florida law also does not impose liability on liquor stores selling closed containers intended to be consumed off premises. Williams v. Anheuser- Busch[3] Inc., 957 F.Supp 1246 (M.D. Fla. 1997).

Florida Claims Against Bar Owners

It can be more challenging to bring a suit against a bar when the individual who caused injuries or damages is over the age of 21, due to the fact that there is a knowledge requirement.  Based upon the terms of the statute, a bar will not be held liable unless the victim can prove that the bar owner or server knew that the individual had a habitual drinking problem and continued to serve him or her anyway. If it is determined that the owner or server knew about the individual’s drinking problem, the court may still decide that the bar is only partially liable for any injuries sustained by the victim.

Anyone who plans to file this type of claim against a bar or another commercial establishment should work with an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group in St. Petersburg as it will be necessary to gather concrete evidence such as witness testimony that establishment owners and servers knew about the individual’s addiction to alcohol and continued to serve him or her to the point of intoxication.  There are other strategic considerations that a St. Petersburg dram shop attorney can bring to bear.

Social Hosts in Florida are not Liable

Florida's dram shop law holds vendors responsible when they serve alcohol to a minor or an alcohol-dependent person who then causes harm to another person, or to themselves. However, the same rule does not apply to social hosts who provide alcohol at private gatherings.  A social host may face criminal penalties for providing alcohol to a minor, but that liability does not apply to a civil case brought by someone damaged in a Florida alcohol-related accident.

St. Petersburg Damages in Dram Shop Cases

Dram shop cases are civil claims, which means they are filed by the injured person directly, and liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages.  Damages for losses suffered in a dram shop claim may include compensation for the following:

                       Medical: Medical bills, including the costs of emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation.

                       Income:  Lost wages, including wages and benefits that might   reasonably have been earned if the injuries had not caused the disability.

                       Property:  Costs for damaged or destroyed property.

                       Suffering:  Pain and suffering.

St. Petersburg Alcohol Related Accident Lawyers

If you are involved in an automobile or motorcycle accident where the individual responsible for the crash was intoxicated, it is imperative to speak to a St. Petersburg Alcohol Related Accident Attorney as soon as possible.  Contact Dolman Law Group today at 727-222-6922 to schedule your free legal consultation with our firm and learn more about seeking monetary compensation for your losses through a personal injury claim.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922