You can’t sue a doctor for simply losing your records, but you may have a case for medical malpractice if the loss of your records has caused you harm.

If you suffered harm due to a doctor or medical professional’s malpractice, don’t hesitate to contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. To schedule your free consultation, call (561) 655-1990 or complete our online contact form.

can you sue a doctor for losing your medical records

Legal rights to your medical records

Under federal law, you have the right to request and receive a copy of your medical records. This includes all records pertaining to your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.

The right to access your records is not absolute, however. Your doctor may refuse to provide you with a copy of certain types of medical records, including psychotherapy notes. Additionally, physicians in Florida are only required to keep a patient’s medical records for five years after the patient’s last visit.

In most cases, only the patient has the right to request and receive a copy of their medical records, but there are exceptions to this rule. For example, parents or guardians may request a minor child’s medical records. A doctor may also share an adult patient’s medical records with their spouse or other family members with the patient’s permission.

If you believe that a doctor is wrongfully denying you or a loved one access to your medical records, you can file a complaint with the Florida Department of Health. If you suffered harm due to the loss of your medical records, you may need to go one step further and file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Suing a doctor for records-related malpractice

Medical malpractice is any action (or inaction) by a doctor that deviates from the accepted standard of care and causes harm to the patient. Common types of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and surgical errors.

Losing a patient’s medical records can fall under any of these categories if it results in the patient being harmed. For example, if a doctor loses a patient’s records and is unable to properly diagnose their illness due to a lack of essential information, the doctor may be held liable for any resulting harm.

How to prove medical malpractice

In order to prove that a doctor is guilty of medical malpractice, you will need to show all of the following:

  • The doctor owed you a duty of care
  • The doctor breached that duty of care
  • You were injured as a result of the breach (causation)
  • Your injuries resulted in damages

Duty of care is usually easy to establish because doctors have a duty to provide care that meets or exceeds the accepted standard in their field. Because doctors in Florida are required to keep medical records for at least five years, losing your records within those five years may be considered a breach of that duty.

Causation can be more difficult to prove. You’ll need to show that the doctor’s actions (or inaction) were the direct cause of your injuries. If you can show that you would have been diagnosed with cancer sooner if the doctor hadn’t lost your records, you may be able to prove causation.

Finally, you will need to show that you suffered physical, emotional, or financial damages as a result of the doctor’s negligence. For example, if you had to undergo additional treatment because of the doctor’s negligence, those medical expenses would count as damages.

Medical malpractice compensation

If you’re successful in proving that a doctor committed medical malpractice, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. This compensation can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

While no amount of money can undo the harm that you’ve suffered, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help you recover the compensation you need to move forward with your life. With a Florida medical malpractice lawyer on your side, you can focus on your recovery while they handle the legal details of your case.

If you’ve been harmed by a doctor’s negligence, contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990 to schedule a free consultation.

Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and options. From there, we can help you take the necessary steps to protect your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.

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