When you’re filing a personal injury claim, it is important to keep track of all your medical records, test results, treatments, and appointments due to the accident. This evidence of your injuries supports your claim and shows that you suffered due to the negligent party’s actions. These records also can demonstrate the overall costs of your injuries by outlining your individual medical expenses.
But it is not uncommon for plaintiffs to visit multiple doctors, hospitals, and treatment centers throughout their recovery, which can make it difficult to keep track of where their individual records are.
How Can a Patient Request Medical Records?
According to §18 of the Public Health Law of the State of New York, patients and certain parties have the right to request medical records from all hospitals and clinics where they have been treated. The request must be in writing and a patient needs to fill out a HIPAA form, but the hospital will generally provide a copy. However, this process is not fast, as the hospital may delay in sending records in between treating other patients. There is also a charge for each copy, but it should be no more than 75 cents per page.
An attorney can request a copy of a patient’s medical records on the patient’s behalf, as well, and handle the logistics of keeping track of these reports. You should inform your attorney of all hospitals and clinics that you were treated at and provide any records that you already have to speed along the process. In addition, once you start working with a lawyer, he or she can begin requesting copies throughout your treatment and cataloging them in your case file.
What If an Insurance Company Asks for My Records?
During a personal injury claim, the at-fault party or your own insurance company will request a copy of your medical records to verify your injuries. While this is standard procedure, you should not hand over every record they request without talking to your attorney. Insurance companies love to scrutinize plaintiffs’ medical records to find any excuse to dismiss or devalue a claim.
When an insurance company requests a copy of your medical records, it is important to talk to your legal team first and let them handle the request. An insurance company may ask for more than just the records related to your accident, including old reports regarding any past injuries or chronic illness. The reason for this is that the insurance company is trying to determine if a previous accident caused your trauma, rather than the accident detailed in your claim. If they can cast doubt over whether your injuries were preexisting, they may be able to devalue your claim.
But the attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, have seen this technique before and know how to counter it. You are under no obligation to give old medical records or unrelated reports to an insurance company, and should never sign a release form without an attorney. Instead of handing over everything, your attorney can examine the request and only provide the relevant documents. We can also handle any communications with the insurance company so that you don’t have to deal with their underhanded tactics.
If you were injured by a negligent party, reach out to the New York personal injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP. We can sit down with you in a free consultation and walk you through the process of getting compensation for your injuries. In our over 50 years of experience, we have dealt with numerous claims and recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. You can trust that we will handle your claim professionally and protect your privacy. Call us at (212) 986-7353 today.