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In the state of North Carolina can a person sue for hippa violations?

Concord, NC |

I was in an examining room with a nurse during an inital consultation. The nurse was asking me questions regarding the reason for my visit.Her cell phone rang and she answered it and told the person to hold on.She set the phone down and began reviewing what we had discussed,The person on the other end of the phone could hear the conversation.When I questioned her about the person who was listening she put the phone in her pocket and began again with the consultation.I interupted her and asked if she thought her pocket was sound proof.She took the phone out and told the person that she would have to call them back.The phone was never placed on mute and the caller could hear the conversation between the nurse and myself. Did she violate any hippa laws, and if so what is my recourse?

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Attorney answers 2


HIPAA is a federal act known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It applies to all states. If you believe your rights were violated under this act you should consult with an attorney who handles privacy cases. You may have to go to Charlotte to find someone who handles these cases regularly.

Civil penalties. Health plans, providers and clearinghouses that violate these standards will be subject to civil liability. Civil money penalties are $100 per violation, up to $25,000 per person, per year for each requirement or prohibition violated.

With that said, the circumstances you relate do not sound like a violation of HIPAA, as the listener on the other end of the phone most likely did not know who you were. However, violation of HIPAA or not, the nurse's actions were improper, rude and clearly made you uncomfortable. You may want to consider telling the doctor or the office manager what happened and see what they are willing to do to keep you as a client before expending alot of time and money on pursuing a lawsuit.

I hope this information is helpful.

David Haar, Esq.
Spirakis & Haar, PA
Myrtle Beach, SC

* *This is general advice; please consult with a local attorney about the specifics of your situation as everybody's circumstances vary and laws may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. No attorney client relationship has been formed by the providing of this advice.


The federal law known as HIPAA does not create a private right of action for damages. It is enforced by a federal agency and may result in a fine or injunction against the violator. A complaint must be made within 180 days of the suspect violation. This is done through

To see about this contact a local lawyer. Good luck to you.

God bless.

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