Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
This would be a two fold issue.
One is that they were not properly caring for the records under the HIPAA requirements. So you can file a HIPAA complaint with the agency where these complaints are handled by law.
Secondly, you can separately sue them, and obtain civil relief.
As part of this process, you can also cause them to reconstitute the medical records. While the resulting reconstituted record is not ideal, important lab work results and x-ray pathology reports, etc will be complete.
What will be missing is any doctor's notes during your visits.
If you suffer injury or some other loss, such as denied medical claims or a missed diagnosis because of the lost doctor's notes, then you will have a cause of action for malpractice or recovery of damages which ever the case may be.
The weakness in such cases is that the medical records including doctor's notes, are the legal property of the doctor and the clinics. However, the represent private medical information to which you are entitled to a copy, and for which have to be safe guarded.
You can file the complaint for HIPAA here:
Your state will most likely have a similar complaint process.
Note: Under federal law you are not allowed to sue for HIPAA, but state laws will sometimes allow it.
First off, thanks for the response. However if you could elaborate on a few things it would be really helpful.
What could I sue them for? The military was going to be my carrier, and on top of that they were going to pay for my college. So I assume I could sue them for college?
Also, I briefly read up on civil relief, and I don't really understand completly. It looks to be for people already in the service. I'm not technically in the military yet. Hence me wanting to sue them.
The cause of action in your case seems to be based on getting into the military. The military requires the medical records. If you are unable to get into the military because your medical records are lost you may be able to show cause and find a basis for recovering damages.
Sometimes you do not want a cash award. Sometimes you sue for an action to occur, and that may include compensatory damages to cover attorney fees,etc. People can sue someone for example to dislodge a building from encroaching on their boarders.
You would at lest be suing for recovery and reconstitution of your medical records.
I am familiar with the MEPS and what is important is diagnosis. All of your lab and x-ray reports if any are recoverable. All diagnosis are recoverable through the records maintained by the billing offices and insurance claims processing centers. So it is possible to reconstitute this record sufficiently to allow you to enter the military.
The MEPS also will allow or should have allowed you to get a full physical at your own expense confirming your existing or prior existing medical history and prognosis. (per my retired army first sergeant friend).
Under HIPAA you file a complaint about the lost records, they are investigated and fined and can be forced to reconstitute the record,etc.
Under a civil law suit, you can sue to force these things,and if you can fix a money loss, to recover those damages.
It would be a long shot to expect money damages for college, because you have not been accepted into the service. BUT if you can show that you were denied entry into the military, because of the lost records, and you can prove that except for that, you would have been let in, then perhaps you just might then be able to fix money damages to the extent of the military contribution to a college fund had you been in. Its a long shot, and no guarantee.
also if all it take is reconstituting the records to get you in the military, then the court may order the case into arbitration and allow the clinic time to do that.
You would have to sit down face to face with a local attorney to discuss the merits of such a case.
at the very least, you can file a HIPAA complaint and force a reconstruction of the records.
Find an attoreny who processes medical malpractice or medical disability;if they also have experience with military and veterans that is good too.
You are welcome. Best of luck to you.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).