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How to Obtain Medical Records After an Injury

Colburn Law

If you plan on filing an accident claim in Washington state, you will need to obtain copies of your medical records. Your medical information will serve as crucial evidence in your claim, helping you establish the nature, extent, and cause of your injuries and hold the at-fault party accountable for your losses. You have the right to request copies of your medical records, but obtaining these documents can be difficult.

Your Rights to Your Medical Records

According to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you have the right to obtain copies of your medical records from any provider.

Under HIPAA, you have the right to request the following documents.

  • Your own medical records
  • Your child’s medical records, with some exceptions
  • Someone else’s medical records if you are his or her legal guardian
  • Someone else’s medical records if you are his or her personal representative
  • A deceased person’s medical records, if a court or the person’s will provides you with the authority to settle his or her final affairs

Typically, you can ask a medical facility to provide you with your medical records and documents for people you have legal guardianship over. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule.

A healthcare provider may deny your request if your case involves any of the following factors.

  • The provider believes the information would be harmful to your health.
  • The provider has used or compiled the requested information for use in a court case.
  • The provider believes the information would reveal a source of confidential information.
  • The provider believes the information would put someone else in danger.

How to Obtain Medical Records in Washington State

Most Washington healthcare providers have their own procedures for obtaining medical records. As a result, you will need to contact the healthcare provider for your records directly. If you visited a hospital after a car accident, you would need to speak to the facility to obtain your records. If you went to an outpatient clinic a few weeks after your accident to receive physical therapy, you will need to ask the clinic to provide your information.

You will usually need to submit your request in writing, and the provider should give you a form the fill out. You will need to provide several pieces of information, such as the following.

  • Your legal name and maiden name
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Address, phone number, and email
  • Your medical record number
  • The specific records you are requesting
  • The dates you were receiving care

If your request is approved, you can pick up copies of your records, which you can use as evidence in your case. Make sure to bring a government-issued photo ID with you to pick up your documents; the hospital or clinic will not release this information if it cannot verify your identity.

If you need help obtaining medical records, speak to a Seattle personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you understand your rights to your medical records, determine whether the provider violated your HIPAA rights, and help you recover the information you deserve.

Your attorney can also represent you in your insurance claim or lawsuit, crafting a compelling case for your right to compensation. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.