Do I Have a Right to Access My Medical Records?

Medical Records

There are key times in life when it is important to get a copy of your medical records. One of these times would be in follow up to a serious accident. Not only is it important to save this information for your future health maintenance, but having these important documents will be critical to proving your injuries and necessary subsequent treatment during a personal injury claim.  

As an experienced personal injury attorneyRyan L. Thompson and his team receive many questions about the personal injury case processA key part of this process is gaining important medical records and granting the right parties access to these records. Providing your dedicated legal team with evidence of your injuries and treatments is essential for them to win your rightful compensation or best represent you in a court of law. 

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Can I Have a Copy of My Own Medical Records? 

Per the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you have the legal right to request and receive copies of your own medical recordsYou may also grant permission to other parties to view, hear, or receive copies of your medical records. For example, during a personal injury claim negotiation or lawsuit, you may want to grant your attorney access to your medical records. This can expedite the process of evidence examination and case building, and it can also help ensure that the full scope of your injuries and losses is understood and included in your demands.   

Additionally, you may have the ability to obtain the medical records of other individuals, specifically people for whom you are legally responsible, such as dependents and minors. If your children were hurt in an accident, you as legal guardian have the right to request a copy of their medical records. Exceptions do apply in the case of parents and children. If you are not the legal guardian or if your child is over the age of 18 (barring a disability that maintains your guardianship past your child’s 18th birthday) you will need to be granted access.  

This video from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides more information on your rights to your records. 

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Medical Protection Under HIPAA – The Fast Facts: 

“Covered Entities” Required to Follow HIPPA Laws Include: 

  • Health Plans 
  • Most Health Care Providers 
  • Health Care Clearinghouses 

“Business Associates” are additional parties with responsibility to HIPAA. These individuals and businesses are not health care providers, but professionals who interact with sensitive health documentation while providing their services or working for their clients. They require access to be granted and are largely beholden to the Covered Entities who must follow HIPAA. Examples would include: 

  • Healthcare billing companies 
  • Health plan administration companies 
  • Lawyers, Accountants, IT Specialists 
  • Companies that store or destroy medical records 

“Protected Information” About Your Health and Healthcare under HIPAA includes: 

  • Information inputted into your medical record by healthcare providers 
  • Conversations within a medical institution between practitioners about your care or treatment 
  • Your health information recorded in a provider or insurer computer system 
  • Your billing information 
  • Other health information about you held by the Covered Entities and Associates 

The bottom line: under Texas and Federal law, you are entitled to a copy of your medical records from any doctor, clinic, hospital, psychologist, chiropractor, dentist, pharmacy, or nursing home that treated you as a patientAdditionally, you are entitled to a copy of your medical record and your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your health insurance provider.  

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How Long Does It Take to Receive My Requested Medical Records? 

The medical provider or healthcare facility is required to provide the requested copy of your medical record within 30 days. If providing the documentation will take longer, an explanation for the reason must be given. These are federal legal requirements under HIPAASome states do require that requested medical records are shared within a shorter time period. 

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Can My Request for Medical Records Be Denied? 

There are cases where your request for medical records may be denied. In these cases, the provider or clinic must submit a denial letter to you that explains their reasoning for the refusal. You do have the right to appeal such a denial. An example of a situation where denial may occur would be that you are involved in an active lawsuit. If this reason or any other is presented for a denial of access to your records, your best course of action may be to have your personal injury attorney handle the situation. They have legal expertise, prowess, and practice on their side to negotiate fiercely for your right to access essential documents regarding your own body and health. 

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Is it Legal for a Medical Facility to Withhold Certain Medical Records? 

Many different types of documents may be included in your medical records. A medical provider or institution may be able to withhold certain types of documentsincluding psychotherapy notes, information that has been gathered as data for a lawsuit, or information that the medical provider reasonably believes could somehow threaten the life or physical safety of you or another person. If you encounter a denied request related to one of these categories, reach out to your personal injury attorney for help addressing the medical provider in question. An experienced attorney will know your options and can provide guidance on the best way to proceed in the case of such a denial. 

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Personalized Legal Assistance from Texas’ Personal Injury Lawyer 

Have you recently experienced a serious accident in Texas? You may have a personal injury claim. Call Ryan “The Lion” Thompson right now to determine your options and begin the process of winning your fair settlement. Ryan’s team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. His firm provides free, confidential reviews of potential personal injury claims. You should not suffer because of the negligent or careless actions of others. If you are victim of such an accident, whether in traffic, at your workplace, in a boat or on a plane, you deserve honest answers, help, and recovery care. To learn more about the assistance that Ryan and his team can provideget in touch today. 

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Texas law limits your time to file a claim.    

For a free, no-risk consultation with Ryan’s team, reach out using the box below anytime.    

Legal experts are available 24/7/365 to connect with you about your case. 

Ryan The Lion’s Guarantee

Ryan receives no attorney fee and you pay no legal expenses as his client unless he gets you paid! Ryan’s firm hasover 350 years combined experience in legal representation, and has won over$1.8 billion dollars in cash settlements for his clients. He has mastered the art of managing clients cases with empathy, compassion, respect, and of course prodigious skill. Reach out today for a free, no-risk consultation to discuss your accident and your options.  

State law limits the time that you have to file a claim following a car accident. If you’ve been hurt in a wreck, call now for the help you need.