If I received a letter from the hospital yesterday stating that my medical records were accidentally given to another patient upon their discharge, what is my legal recourse?

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If I received a letter from the hospital yesterday stating that my medical records were accidentally given to another patient upon their discharge, what is my legal recourse?

Once the patient realized he had received the wrong paperwork, he returned it to the hospital. The letter offered no recourse except that I should contact the 3 credit bureaus and put an alert on my credit. Do I have a case against this hospital for being so careless?

Asked on July 7, 2015 under Malpractice Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You do not have a viable case yet, based on what you write. Yes, the hospital was negligent, or careless, and that could create liability. But you need more than liability for a viable case: you also need damages, or some loss you suffered, because the law only provides compensation for actual losses. If the accidental release of your records has not harmed you--e.g. there was no identity theft or fraud due to it--then you have no damages and would not receive compensation. If that changes and you do suffer a loss due to this act, then at that point, you may have a viable case.


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