The most important evidence in most personal injury cases are the medical records of the plaintiff. For a plaintiff to prove that their harm was caused by the defendant’s actions, they must provide proof in the form of medical records showing the cause of the injuries complained of. Medical records are also needed to prove almost every aspect of damages. Past and future medical bills can only be verified with documentation from healthcare providers that show the costs of needed treatment. If a personal injury impacts a plaintiff’s ability to work, medical records are crucial to proving why this is by showing the extent of an injury. Medical records can also be used as evidence to show the extent of pain and suffering that a plaintiff endured as a result of an injury. Because medical records are so important to a case, plaintiffs should ensure that their attorneys have access to them as soon as possible. Defendants are also entitled to access the medical records of a plaintiff.
Medical records are highly sensitive, so there are strict privacy laws that must be adhered to when healthcare providers can provide these records. The primary law governing the release of medical records is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Under HIPAA, healthcare providers must keep medical records confidential unless the patient authorizes it or there is an emergency. There are also several Georgia laws regulating medical records that must be adhered to.
Because of these laws, a lawyer cannot simply request the records from the provider, nor can a plaintiff simply call the provider up on the phone and ask them to send the records over to a third party. The process for releasing medical records involves signing an authorization for release and submitting it to the provider so that they have the request in writing. This is usually sufficient when records are held in Georgia, but in some cases even this is not enough, and a lawyer must have a court issue a subpoena to the healthcare provider, which orders them to provide the records.
Authorizations for Release of Medical Records
An authorization for the release of medical records will give your attorney the ability to request medical records from your healthcare providers. In most cases, a similar authorization is provided to the defendant in a case. It is important to note that these records can only be used as part of your personal injury lawsuit. If sensitive medical records are released that a plaintiff would not like to be public information, it is possible to file those records into the court record under seal. This means that the records will be used as evidence in the case but will only be viewable by the parties, the attorneys, and the court.
For More Information, Contact Williams Elleby
If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to fully understand your legal rights and options. Personal injury lawyers should make sure all medical records and bills are gathered and organized for every client’s injuries in order to maximize compensation. This includes carefully documenting medical care and properly authorizing your attorney to access all records. Williams Elleby, is dedicated to helping personal injury victims throughout the state of Georgia. To discuss your case, contact WILLIAMS | ELLEBY to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA today.