If you have suffered an injury due to a medical error, the first step to proving your case is to request your medical records. Medical records can help establish a physician’s oversight or negligence – and may be the most critical piece of evidence in your claim overall. There are procedures for requesting your medical records – you cannot simply go to the office and state that you want them. Even if you have an attorney, your attorney will need to follow protocols in order to retrieve your records. Therefore, knowing the proper way to do so is critical.
How to Request Medical Records
There are a few different rules that may apply based on the clinic or hospital’s own policy, but you can start the process by:
- Contacting your medical provider. Ask what information they need in order to get your medical records from their office. You may need to reach out to a third party service that your provider uses – since this company will house copies of your records. Sometimes, in-house staff handles the record request.
- Make your request official by doing so in writing. Simply calling up and requesting your records is not enough and doesn’t create a paper trail. Request these officially in writing; therefore, if the physician or office delays, you have proof that you actually requested the records.
- Include all relevant information in your request. This includes your name, mailing address, address of record, telephone number, email address, date of birth, and your patient or medical record number (if you know it). You may need to provide your social security number as well.
- Fill out any necessary release forms. All offices and hospitals have a medical records release that must be filled out and signed in order to request records.
- Specify if you want originals or copies of the records. If you can, request the originals.
Specifying the Records
You need to be specific about which records you are requesting. Sometimes, you may need your entire medical file – while other times, you only need a specific portion of your records. If you have seen the same doctor for over 20 years, you do not need to pay for copies of every immunization and office visit. Instead, you need to pinpoint the dates that are relevant to your claim and request records for that time period. If you know the date on which the error occurred, you will want to request records around that date – including some time before and after to encompass all relevant information.
You will also need to narrow down the request to what you are looking for, such as MRI reports, specialist reports, treatment notes, etc.
Speak with an Attorney to Get Started
If you think you have suffered an injury because of a medical provider’s negligence, contact a medical malpractice attorney in St. Louis. The team at Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law can help you request medical records. We will work closely with you and help identify which records are relevant, and ensure that the right information is requested (and received) to prove your claim. Get started on assessing your options for your claim with a free consultation by calling 877-678-3400, or filling out our online contact form with your legal questions.