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Gathering Medical Records

Personal injury cases can take a long time. I've blogged about it before, and it's always on my client's minds. One of the reasons why a personal injury case can take so long is because of the time it takes to gather medical records. This process is generally the longest in any personal injury matter, whether it's a car accident, slip or trip and fall, wrongful death case, or anything else. Here are a few reasons why.

The release of medical information is a highly regulated process. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was enacted to protect patient privacy and came with several sections pertaining to what is required to obtain someone else's health information. It also contains harsh penalties for health care providers who release medical information without a patient's permission (and for good reason). Because of this, however, hospitals and other health care providers are very serious and particular about sending a client's medical records. They make sure we've crossed out t's and dotted our i's. Although the privacy protection is a good thing, it makes the process of getting medical records very tedious.

Medical records retrieval can also take a long time because we want all our records to be certified. In order to use medical records at trial in a personal injury case, the custodian of those records (the doctor or hospital), must verify that they are a true and accurate copy of the records. This is done by the health care provider signing an affidavit of authenticity that they send along with the records. If the health care provider doesn't have a notary or is unfamiliar with the affidavit process, it could add several days or even weeks to the medical record retrieval process.

Because medical records retrieval is so detailed and can take up so much time, we out-source the process to specialist. That's right, medical records retrieval has gotten to the point that there are businesses that do only that. Outsourcing this allows our Kansas City personal injury attorneys to focus our resources on other parts of the case and ensures that the records are obtained as expeditiously as possible.

If you have question about the medical records retrieval process in your personal injury case, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

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