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Why do I need a medical release in a medical malpractice suit?

A Californian who opts to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit will need to present an organized and clear case regarding his or her injury. At the center of the lawsuit will be the details of a patient's injury. In order to present a thorough case, it will be necessary for an individual to obtain his or her relevant medical records.

A patient's medical records can reveal essential information such as how he or she was treated by medical staff, who specifically treated the patient and when, as well as how the patient's medical profile may have changed over time. This information will be central to determining whether medical professionals demonstrated a degree of negligence that constitutes medical malpractice.

Under federal law, health care providers are supposed to keep patients' health care records confidential. Therefore, in order for a patient to share his or her medical information, he or she will need to sign a medical records release form to have this information available to others. By signing the release, an individual allows other designated individuals, such as his or her attorney, to have access to particular relevant medical records.

It will, of course, be necessary to allow for access to records related to the injury and treatment at issue, but it also may be necessary to allow for access to a patient's mental health records. Such records can demonstrate that an individual has experienced pain and suffering in connection with his or her physical injury and, therefore, the records can support an additional claim of patient injury. Furthermore, it may be necessary to allow for access to a patient's insurance information, medical invoices and prescription drug information via a medical records release form in order to fully support a medical malpractice lawsuit.

An attorney can offer an injured Californian assistance with medical records release forms, as well as other aspects of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: FindLaw, "Medical Records Release Form," accessed Sept. 23, 2016

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