Those dealing with the death of a loved one often have much to consider. An additional layer of complexity is added when the deceased loved one was injured as a result of a car accident, for instance. Family members are the ones who have to seek the advice of an attorney and proceed with a case on behalf of their deceased loved one. In Illinois, it has been a pain to obtain medical records on behalf of deceased relatives. A recent change in the law in the past few years makes it easier to obtain the necessary medical records that can provide crucial evidence in a personal injury case where deaths are common, like car accidents or medical malpractice:
735 ILCS 5/8-2001.5 is the new section added in 2011 to provide new authorization procedures to obtain patient records of the deceased:
In addition to disclosure allowed under Section 8-802, a deceased person’s health care records may be released upon written request of the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate or to an agent appointed by the deceased under a power of attorney for health care. When no executor, administrator, or agent exists, and the person did not specifically object to disclosure of his or her records in writing, then a deceased person’s health care records may be released upon the written request of:
(1) the deceased person’s surviving spouse; or
(2) if there is no surviving spouse, any one or more of the following: (i) an adult son or daughter of the deceased, (ii) a parent of the deceased, or (iii) an adult brother or sister of the deceased.
A new authorization form, the language of which is provided in the statute, allows health care facilities and practitioners to release medical information to relatives, executors, or any one with whom the deceased has granted power of attorney. A fee is required when requesting such information.
In the instance a loved one is killed in a car accident, it is imperative for those whom the statute has granted access to request the medical information immediately. Typically, a family member will be able to obtain the information much more quickly than the attorney. Seek the advice of an attorney immediately to protect the interest of your deceased loved one.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.