When you are embarking on a personal injury claim, you will have to request your medical records, as these documents will serve as key evidence in any settlement demand or offer. These records confirm details such as:
- Proof of your physical injuries
- Assessment of the injuries
- Medical treatment costs, which can help to calculate any economic damages that you sustained
- The presence of any pre-existing injuries, which the alleged at-fault person will not want to pay for
Medical experts for both sides will analyze your records and determine what caused you to be injured. If your claim is for medical malpractice, then these documents make it easier to tell whether the physicians you are suing exercised reasonable care when treating you.
Who can request your medical records
Your personal health information is kept confidential by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which also ensures your right to access and obtain copies of your own medical records. In your request, identifying personal information must be submitted, such as:
- Your name
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Account number
- Spouseâ€™s name (if applicable)
If you sign a Release of Information, then you are no longer protected by HIPAA, but some insurance companies ask you to sign a release form when you file a claim, as the adjuster will want to examine the nature and extent of your medical treatment before deciding on a settlement offer. You can, however, release only the records that pertain to your current injuries and leave the rest confidential.
In almost all instances, copies of your medical records must be requested in writing and by you personally. Exceptions may be made if you have been deemed physically or mentally unable to make the request, in which case a signed Power of Attorney can be sufficient. If you’re represented by a personal injury attorney, then they can also make the request on your behalf.
Limitations on accessing your records
Under certain circumstances, there may be limitations on the medical information that you are allowed to access. HIPAA allows doctors to withhold certain information, such as:
- Information you have provided that you have specifically requested
- Personal notes not related to your medical treatment, such as personal observations and messages to other staff at the facility
- Information that you requested be kept confidential
- Treatment details concerning a minor
- Information that the doctor believes may cause harm to you or others, or cause a public panic
- Information about your treatment by other doctors: those physicians must be approached directly to provide treatment details
If you are injured in New York and plan to sue the parties responsible, then contact a New York personal injury attorney right away. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx accident and personal injury lawyer who handles car accident, medical malpractice, building injuries as well as other types of accident cases Mr. Lutzky can advise you on which records are needed to support your claim, how to apply for them, and even make the request on your behalf. Call 718-329-9500 to set up a free in-person consultation or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com.