Visitor Question

Personal Information Given to Attorney Without My Consent…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

I was rear ended and went to a major hospital for treatment of my injuries. I was later contacted by an attorney who left his card at my front door. I had not spoken to this attorney before and believe he obtained my information from the hospital.

Is this a violation of HIPAA laws (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

It would be a violation of HIPAA if the hospital released any of your medical information to the attorney without your consent. HIPAA laws are very strict. Even releasing your name and address could conceivably be a HIPAA violation.

You’ll have two challenges:

The first will be proving it was the hospital or one of its employees who released the information to the attorney. Certainly no one is going to admit doing so. If you aren’t able to find out on your own you might considering hiring an attorney.

When lawsuits are filed the parties have a right to subpoena information which may be even slightly relative the case. That’s not to say you can’t have issued a subpoena on your own. To do so would require you to create a viable petition (lawsuit) and then file it. You can be sure as soon as you do, the hospital’s attorneys will file a Motion for Summary Judgment asking the court to dismiss your case immediately.

If you don’t have some proof of the hospital’s culpability it is highly likely their attorneys will prevail and your case will be dismissed before you’ve had a chance to have a subpoena issued.

Matters like this are best left to qualified attorneys.

Your second challenge will be proving damages. Although there are strict fines for hospitals who violate the HIPAA act, in order for the victims of HIPAA violations to recover money they must be able to prove the release of information in some way damaged them. In your case there doesn’t appear to be any damages.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 11, 2012

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