Regardless of the circumstances of your injury, you will have to request your medical records at some point in your personal injury case. As you may or may not know, medical records are often a key element in a personal injury lawsuit, which is why it is understandable why you are so hell-bent on obtaining your medical records as soon as possible.
But before you go knocking on doors in your local hospital, our California personal injury attorney at Mancini & Associates advises learning more about your rights and tips on getting your medical records in California.
After all, you want to do it properly and by the law, and would not want to give the opposing party the opportunity to say that you broke the law when requesting those medical records of yours.
But before we get started, let us explain why obtaining medical records is so important for your personal injury case. There can be multiple reasons. For example, let’s say that you have been injured in a car accident, and the at-fault party is trying to minimize his liability for your injuries by claiming that you had some pre-existing medical condition. Your medical records will show who’s right who’s wrong.
Or, let’s say that the at-fault party’s insurance company is trying to dispute the extent of your injuries. “By providing your medical records, and having a skilled medical professional review and interpret them, you can prove the extent of your injuries after an accident or incident,” explains our experienced personal injury attorney in California.
So let’s get started. How to get your medical records in California? Under the federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), U.S. patients have the indisputable right to obtain a copy of their medical records from any medical provider, though there are a few exceptions.
Under HIPAA, you have the right to request:
While the HIPAA provides patients with the right to obtain copies of medical records, they also have the right to view their original medical records. Our California personal injury lawyer explains that this usually takes place at the healthcare provider’s office.
However, medical providers do have the right to withhold and deny access to certain types of medical records. These records include:
In California, if you have requested medical records, you must obtain those records within 15 days of your request. If the medical provider denies your request, it must provide you with a denial letter. “You may be able to appeal the denial,” explains our personal injury lawyer California. If it has taken the healthcare provider longer than 15 days to respond to your request or provide copies of the requested medical records, the provider must give you a reason for the delay.