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Why Are Medical Records Important?

In a California medical malpractice lawsuit, your medical records are an integral part of building your case. Therefore, it is imperative that we obtain and review your medical records as soon as possible.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, your medical record may include the following:

  • Your medical history
  • Statements made by you at the time of your visit (symptoms, complaints, etc.)
  • Your family health history
  • The results of your examination
  • Test results
  • Treatment received in a hospital or other health care facility
  • X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, CAT scans, etc.
  • Medications prescribed
  • Notes recorded by your doctor
  • Other information about your health or health care

Under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), patients have the right to obtain a copy of their medical records from any medical provider. The HIPAA requirements apply to both paper and electronic records.

In addition, under Section 1158 of the California Evidence Code, failure to make the records available, during business hours, within five days after the presentation of the written authorization, may subject the person or entity having custody or control of the records to liability for all reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred in any proceeding to enforce this section.

The forms and specific procedures required by health care providers can vary. In addition, while many health care providers will provide the requested records promptly, when facing a medical malpractice lawsuit, others will try to complicate and delay the process. Therefore, it is advisable to have an experienced San Diego medical malpractice attorney by your side.