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High fees for medical record retrieval contribute to the overall cost of legal representation. These costs may be passed on to the client, increasing the financial burden associated with their legal case.
If attorneys face high costs in obtaining necessary medical records, this may lead to delays in the case as they might need more time to gather the funds or find alternative ways to retrieve the records. This could slow the progress of the case and lengthen the time it takes to reach a resolution.
Attorneys often front costs like medical record retrieval with the expectation that they will recoup these costs from the eventual settlement or judgment. However, the higher the upfront costs, the larger the settlement or judgment needs to be to cover these expenses. If the settlement or judgment is not as high as expected, it could impact the attorney's ability to recover costs and potentially lower the amount of money that goes to the plaintiff's client.
High fees for record retrieval can impact access to justice for clients who can't afford these costs. In some instances, attorneys may decline to take on a case if the costs of obtaining necessary records are prohibitively high, thereby limiting a client's options for legal representation.
If medical record retrieval costs are high, an attorney might have to make decisions about what records are absolutely necessary to the case, potentially leaving out valuable information that could have helped build a stronger case for their client.
To ensure fair practices, some states have laws to cap the fees that can be charged for medical records retrieval, and there are also federal regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that provide patients the right to access their health information. Nevertheless, the impact of high medical record retrieval costs is a significant issue in the legal industry.