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Should You Retrieve Your Own Medical Records

You suspect that your doctor has done something that has caused you significant harm. When you go to your attorney, he will want to investigate the matter, and might ask you to turn over your medical records. However, is it proper for the attorney to give you such instructions?

What Your Attorney should be Doing

In the state of New York, if the attorney feels you might have a valid medical malpractice case, he will do a number of things to evaluate your case. The lawyer will ask you to sign permission slips, which allows him to get copies of your medical records. You will have to sign a retainer agreement, which means you are giving the lawyer your permission to go ahead and investigate your case.

Now, your attorney will do whatever is necessary to obtain your medical records. After procuring the records, he will take them to a medical expert, who will then methodically engage in a full evaluation to determine whether:

1. There were violations from the basic standards of medical care

2. Those departures from basic standards of medical care resulted in your injuries

3. The injuries were significant or permanent

It is required by law, for a medical expert to confirm, each one of these three elements, before you can even file a medical malpractice case in New York.

Choosing the Right Lawyer

There are attorneys who might say that they do not know whether you have a valid case or not, and they want you to procure your own medical records. This means the attorney does not want to put in the time and money to acquire the medical records, and wants the client to do it. The attorney might further ask you to pay the fee for the medical expert who is supposed to evaluate your medical records and decide whether you have a valid medical malpractice case or not. The question is should you be investing your own effort, time, and money in doing these things.

There could be many answers to this question; however, you will find that most experienced attorneys who specialize in such cases will firstly screen your call to determine if there is a possibility that you have a valid case. If they feel there is a possibility, you will be asked to come to their office, where they will find out more things from you about your case.

After a detailed interview, if the lawyers feel you could be having a valid case, they will ask you to sign permission slip to acquire your medical records. Hence, the lawyers will not only invest in whatever is necessary to retrieve your medical records, but also for having your case evaluated by a medical professional.

The Normal Course of Action

Dedicated and tremendous lawyers will pay for getting your records and having your case evaluated by a trustworthy medical source, because they think it is a worthy investment. Once the medical expert confirms your case to be valid, the lawyers will be ready to prosecute the case. Hence, a prudent lawyer will never ask you to acquire your own medical records or pay medical expert fees. This is an important point to consider when you are hiring a medical malpractice attorney.

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