Facing a personal injury case can be overwhelming and exhausting. One of the biggest factors that influence a personal injury case is providing accurate and reliable medical records. However, accessing your medical records is not always straight forward.
There are many healthcare laws that protect your rights to privacy. Likewise there are many laws that ensure you are able to obtain your records easily.
It is important to understand how the laws work, which forms may be required to share records, and more.
Accurately obtaining your medical records can make or break your personal injury case. Your experienced personal injury attorney in Deerfield Beach can help. There are several reasons your medical records matter such as:
- obtaining a larger settlement
- getting help covering your medical costs
- receiving compensation for loss of wages
- coverage for any required therapy
Here are a few things to consider when gathering your medical records and what to expect.
Reliable and Accurate Documentation
One of the biggest challenges of obtaining your medical records is reliability. When you file a personal injury claim you’ll need to request medical records that are accurate and reliable. To ensure they are reliable and accurate request them from your doctor and not a third party. Keep in mind that you may be required to submit a form or pay a fee.
Often medical records cannot be sent via email. They must be printed and delivered. Some medical practices provide your medical records online. Yet, these may not be acceptable by the claims adjuster. Speak to your claim’s adjuster to learn more about acceptable medical records.
Do they need the records mailed and delivered directly to them from your doctor? Would they accept medical records you have obtained independently?
Your experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the best way to request your records.
Why Your Medical Records Matter
Your medical records play a key role in how your personal injury claim will be settled. The insurance adjuster will analyze, scrutinize, and review your medical records in great detail. This process can be invasive but plays a key role in the settlement amount. By reviewing your medical records in-depth your adjuster can determine:
- the extent of your injuries
- the cost of treatment and therapy
- any related medical expenses
- length of recovery
- loss of wages and compensation
Without reliable and accurate medical records your personal injury claim will be dropped. Your medical records are essential in building your case.
Privacy and HIPPA
Over the years healthcare has evolved into protecting your rights and privacy. Personal injuries not only impact your way of life but can also influence your work. So privacy is a concern for everyone.
Through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), your personal information is secure. However, this law also controls how you access your medical records. In every state obtaining medical records varies. In the state of Florida, medical providers can charge a fee for your records. But this fee cannot supersede the cost to copy and print your records.
Additional Florida state laws include:
- practitioners are required to keep copies of your medical records for at least 5 years from the first date of contact
- providers are required to provide copies of your medical records
- your personal injury attorney can request your medical records on your behalf
HIPAA is a healthcare law that protects your privacy. But during your personal injury case, you’ll likely have to sign a Release of Information. Once that form is signed your rights to privacy dissolve. Your insurance adjuster will require you to sign the form as well as your attorney to pursue your case.
When signing a Release of Information, ensure that any information shared is related solely to your personal injury. This can help prevent claims of “prior injury”. Never allow insurance companies to access your full medical history. Only allow access to your existing personal injury.
Independent Medical Exams
A first-party claim is when you file a claim that to be filed with your existing insurance company. These claims often require an Independent Medical Exam (IME). These exams are used to verify your claim and often have to be performed by an independent doctor.
In most cases obtaining medical records from these exams are straight forward. In most cases, they do not require any extra fees.
Let Our Personal Injury Attorneys Fight For You
Facing a personal injury can be a challenge. Seeking legal counsel ensures you can navigate filing a personal injury claim successfully. An experienced personal injury attorney knows where to start and can help you obtain your medical records quickly and as well as fight for the settlement you deserve.