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



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