Pierce county WA. Why can't lawyers use the medical records and bills patient has?

Asked over 1 year ago - Tacoma, WA

When a patient request medical records and bills hospitals or providers don't charge anything but when lawyers request these records they use a third party company and hospitals or providers charge to these companies....which increases the cost for a client....why can't lawyers use the medical records and bills patient already have? or can collect from various providers/hospitals?
why lawyers insist that they order this bills and records?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Thuong-Tri Nguyen

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There was a case in WA a few years back about a woman who scammed several insurance companies and attorneys who represented her.

    At some point, she had a real injury. She took the medical records for that real injury and alter the records to look as if she had other injuries from other incidents. She submitted those altered records to her attorneys and the insurance companies and got settlements for injuries she never had. (She was finally caught and likely is still in prison).

    "why lawyers insist that they order this bills and records?" The simple answer likely is that the attorneys do not want to be scammed.

    The insurance companies likely will want to order the records directly from the service providers.

    Suing costs. Paying for records is simply a cost of suing.

    I am not aware of any medical providers that provides copies of medical records for free. Sure, if the records consist of a page or two, no one would want to go through the hassles of writing up an invoice and sending the invoice. But when the records of hundreds of pages, it costs the medical providers money to make the copies and the person who gets the copies should expect to pay the cost.

  2. John Groseclose

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Not all lawyers insist on this. There are all kinds of exceptions. For instance, an active duty military person may have there medical records and be entitled to a copy of their own file and be able to obtain a copy of their own file. However, the general premise that they get ordered is probably true. What is even more ironic is that even after an attorney has ordered the records and provided them to an insurance company - once a lawsuit starts - the records are frequently ordered a second time. Sometimes there is an evidence rule reasons for this. Sometimes there is a trust reason for this. Sometimes it just happens for no particular reason at all - except an attorney always does it that way.

    For the most part - attorneys do not try to inflate the cost of litigation. They try hard to keep the costs down. When they do things a particular way - there are usually reasons. However, sometimes if you have a conversation with the attorney and explain you thoughts and concerns - you can get the attorney to change their mind or take a different action. Meet with your attorney and discuss your concerns. He/she should be happy to explain why they are or are not making certain decisions.

  3. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Lawyers need to make sure that all the medical records are full and complete.

  4. Lee Tucker

    Contributor Level 9

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Most experienced personal injury attorneys will have their own way to order the records. If you have an experienced personal injury attorney, then trust how they obtain your records and the costs that are incurred. Like some have said, personal injury attorneys are looking for many ways to keep their clients' costs down because the attorney is the one advancing all of the costs before the case resolves.

    Mr. Tucker is licensed to practice law in Washington and Kentucky. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Tucker strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received. less

    Mr. Tucker is licensed to practice law in Washington and Kentucky. The response herein is not legal advice and... more
  5. Ashley Noelle White

    Pro

    Contributor Level 5

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . An attorney will want to make sure they have a complete record of all your treatment (and perhaps some records regarding prior medical depending on the circumstances). Clients may go get those records, however there is always a chance of them getting incomplete incomplete records, whether at the fault of the client or the provider.

    The way each attorney handles their files can be different depending on the office policy, the case, etc. If you have issues regarding this, I'd be sure to bring it up to your attorney. They may have a different explanation or reasoning behind it.

  6. Jeffrey R Caffee

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . The defense have all of your medical records. Your attorney does not want to be left in the dark. You may think you have everything, but it is better not to assume and be proven wrong at trial. It can be a very costly mistake. Plus, if you prevail at trial, you can generally get costs awarded which include medical records under RCW 4.84.010.

    This comment is made as general information and is in no way to be considered legal advice. Attorney's making... more

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