How Do I Get All of My Medical Records and Bills For A Personal Injury Case?
I’ve Attorney Eric T. Kirk outlined in other volumes the various elements of recoverable damages. Medical expenses are frequently the biggest single piece of that pie. You, of course, are entitled to recover your medical costs, but you need to demonstrate what they were. Assembling all the medical bills incurred, in a form that is admissible at trial, can be a daunting, but necessary, task. For those who have not had the sometimes brutal experience of collecting these bills, the process is often shocking.
For example, there is no “bill” from a hospital for a visit, but, usually multiple bills [e.g. the emergency physician, the facility, the ambulance, the radiologist, and possibly a pharmacist or another physician.] You have to contact three or more different entities to get all the bills -and you might not know who they are.
It gets more complex. Once the providers are identified, they must be provided with a specific form mandated by federal privacy laws.
Some providers have their own version of this form, and they require that you use it to the exclusion of any other. Finally, there is the issue of payment. Few remaining medical providers have a traditional “medical file” in the office any more. Most allow third parties to store, access and distribute medical records. Many providers have also outsourced their billing to outside parties. Not surprisingly, these third parties charge for the service, and you pay for it. Many such providers charge a flat fee of e.g. $25.00, and then additionally charge per pager thereafter.
It is not uncommon to pay several hundred dollars in medical record retrieval fees in a typical personal injury case.
The accident victim must make sure the personal injury lawyer has all the information about medical services obtained prior to the lawyer’s involvement, and, specifically, detailed information, and proof regarding out of pocket costs, co-pays, or any transportation expenses associated with medical visits. You need to ensure that your lawyer gets periodic updates if your treatment is ongoing.