Illinois Law Eases Access to Medical Records of Deceased Loved Ones

Adler & Adler fully supports the recently signed ISBA-backed law that creates a procedure and statutory form to allow certain family members to get the medical records of deceased relatives without being forced to open an estate.

Recently, before this law went into effect, Adler & Adler had a client who wanted to know if she had a wrongful death case for her deceased child. In order to investigate even the possibility of a malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit, we had to put our client through lengthy and costly legal hoops to open an estate for the child. Sponsored by State Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet) and Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), the medical records law went into effect on Nov. 23, 2011, and will help loved ones save time and money—and reduce some emotional trauma—in the case-investigation process.

The law allows a surviving spouse to make a written request for a copy of his or her deceased spouse's records if: (1) An executor or administrator has not been appointed for the deceased's estate; or (2) The deceased did not appoint an agent under a power of attorney for health care who was authorized to act for the deceased after death, and the deceased had not specifically objected to disclosure in writing. If there is no surviving spouse, the records may be released if requested in writing to (1) an adult son or daughter, (2) a parent, or (3) an adult brother or sister. The bill also amends the Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care to allow an agent to access medical records after the principal's death if the principal has delegated that authority in the power of attorney.

If you have lost a loved one in any situation where you think someone else may be fully or even partially at fault, contact an attorney at Adler & Adler, P.C. We will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.


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