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Medical Records Release Form

Appropriate medical records are vital to creating a solid medical malpractice case.

Your medical history will show the treatment date, the provider who treated you, and how your medical profile changed. These factors will also determine who (if anyone) is liable for your injuries. Your attorney will help you compile the necessary information to build a strong case. Preparing your documentation before you step foot in your attorney's office is always a good idea.

Contact a medical malpractice attorney if you have specific questions about a malpractice claim or need legal advice.

See FindLaw's Medical Malpractice Legal Help section to learn more about working with an attorney.

HIPAA and Privacy of Medical Records

To begin a medical malpractice case, your attorney will need a copy of your medical records to review your case.

First, you will need to sign a medical records release form. Under HIPAA, only you and your personal representative can access your medical records. Your attorney can only view your medical records with your authorization.

In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The goal was to improve public health insurance and access to medical care.

HIPAA gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the power to set privacy standards for electronic health records, claims, benefits, and medical bills.

Right to Access

HHS established a HIPAA Privacy Rule to protect public health and patient medical records. Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, patients and their personal representatives can access patients' medical records.

Right to access means you have the right to have a copy of all your medical records, including copies of x-rays and scans. 

What is a personal representative? It depends on who you choose. Sometimes, a personal representative is the same person given power of attorney. A personal representative can also be a parent, legal guardian, executor, or administrator of an estate.

The Privacy Rule also allows access to medical records by court order or subpoena.

Covered Entities

Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, covered entities must keep patient information, medical treatments, and test results confidential.

Covered entities are:

  • Health care providers
  • Doctors
  • Health insurance companies
  • Nursing homes
  • Pharmacies

This law also requires covered entities to protect personally identifiable data. A signed release form allows a health care professional or any covered entity to view your medical records.

Types of Medical Records

Even if your injury is physical, your attorney also may ask for mental health records.

Mental health records can be important in a medical malpractice case because you may have an extra claim for pain and suffering. Or perhaps a previously prescribed medication for a mental illness interacts with another drug and causes an injury.

In a lawsuit, you only have one shot to make a case. It is better to provide all your medical information and have experts examine all possibilities. Other records that could be relevant to your case include prescription drug information, insurance information, or medical invoices.

Sample Medical Release Form

To access your medical records, your attorney will need your signature on a release form (like the one below).

Your signature authorizes medical providers to provide your lawyer with a copy of your records. See FindLaw's Medical Malpractice section for more articles and resources.

HIPAA Privacy Authorization Form

Patient's Name _____________________________________________

Date of Birth ____/____/____

Social Security Number ______-___-_______

Address ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Telephone Number (____) ____-_______


At my request, I authorize the following healthcare provider to use and disclose the protected health information described below.

Name of Provider __________________________________________ Provider's Address ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Authorization Period:

This authorization for the release of protected health information covers the following period, from:

____________________ to ____________________.

Extent of Authorization:

Please release all my complete health record information, except the following:


Expiration Date of Authorization:

This authorization shall be effective until _________________ (date), after which, this authorization expires.

I understand that I am permitted to revoke this authorization in writing at any time.


Patient's Signature: ___________________________________________ Date: _______________________

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

A qualified medical malpractice lawyer will help you collect all the necessary documentation to build a successful case.

Finding the right attorney can mean the difference between getting compensation and walking away empty-handed. An excellent first step is to get a claim evaluation from a medical malpractice attorney.

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