Understanding Your Rights To Your Medical Records

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Understanding Your Rights To Your Medical RecordsMost people never see the inside of their medical records. After all, the records are not provided for free, and after a patient leaves the hospital very few will ever go to the trouble to get a full copy. In addition, when the records are kept by different doctors and hospitals, it can be difficult to get a complete copy of a person’s entire medical history.

Sometimes, it is necessary to get a copy of your medical records even though the process can be difficult. When you are considering filing a lawsuit, or if you just don’t trust that a procedure was done correctly, it can be invaluable to take your records to another doctor for a second or third opinion.

California law gives every citizen the right to a copy of their medical records with a limited amount of expense. While an attorney would do this on your behalf if you were involved in an injury or accident lawsuit, you also have the right to request a copy of your records yourself.

In order to view your records, you must submit a request in writing to the doctor or hospital who is maintaining the file. Doctors have a responsibility to keep these records on file for seven years, or for one year after a minor child’s 18th birthday.

If you would like to simply view or go through the file, you can request to inspect the documents on location at the doctor’s office or hospital. Once your written request is received, the doctor or hospital must provide the documents for your inspection within five days. You may be charged a fee for examining the records.

If you would like an actual copy of the records, you must submit another request in writing. Within 15 days of receiving this request, the doctor or hospital must provide the parts of your file which you requested to be copied. There can be a significant charge for copies of these records, however. Doctors are allowed to charge up to $0.25 per page for regular paper records, and up to $0.50 for records transferred from microfilms. There are also charges for copies of X-rays and other scans.

It may be both easier and cheaper for you to have your attorney request your medical records from your doctor. When an attorney has your written authorization and is preparing for a lawsuit, then he or she can request these records at a cheaper rate per page than the average person. In addition, an attorney in a person injury case will usually advance these costs on behalf of their client, and take any fees out of the recovery when the case is finished.

At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., our knowledgeable staff of medical and legal professionals understands the evidence needed to create a solid personal injury or medical malpractice case. We can evaluate your case and make sure that you understand your legal rights.

If you would like to speak with an experienced Beverley Hills injury attorney, contact Dr. Bradley I. Kramer today by calling (310) 289-2600 or use our online case evaluation form to have your claim reviewed for free.

Questions? Contact us