Your medical record is one of the most powerful pieces of evidence in any personal injury case. Not only does your medical record show the extent of your injuries, it can provide a timeline of diagnosis and treatment that links your injuries to the accident that caused them. Your records can also show the true cost of your medical care. Because of this, it is important to obtain a copy of your records when filing a personal injury case.
What Laws Regulate Copies of Your Medical Record?
While the law protects your right to access your own medical records, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulates that access in an effort to protect your personal information. HIPAA also regulates the locations where you are able to view your records and fees that you must pay to obtain a copy of those records.
How Can You Request a Copy of Your Medical Records?
Under Wisconsin law, medical professionals must provide your records if you request them. You will need to pay a fee for each page you receive. With written informed consent, your attorney or a person you have granted power of attorney can also view these records.
When requesting your medical record, it is important to receive all the records related to the accident you have suffered. This is especially true if a physician examined you immediately after your accident but the full extent of your injuries was not known until later.
It is important, however, to protect your records and provide copies of only the information relevant to your case. For example, insurance companies may ask you to sign a release of information or use prior medical conditions as a reason to avoid compensating you fairly. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine which information should be sent to these companies or used as evidence in your personal injury case.
As a part of a sound legal strategy, your medical record could be the strongest evidence to support your claim.