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How to Get the Medical Records of a Family Member Who Died

Because medical malpractice errors are the third leading cause of death in this country, family members often have questions about whether their loved one received the proper care by healthcare providers before their loved one passed away.

Far too often, the attempt to get copies of their loved one's medical records goes like this:

The proper family member signs an authorization to release the records.  The doctor or hospital tells the family member they cannot release the medical records because the family member did not follow the proper legal requirements.  The family member gives up because the legal requirements told to them seem so difficult and it is too much to handle while dealing with their grief.

This refusal by the healthcare provider to release medical records sometimes may be out of an abundance of caution, but oftentimes is a concerted effort to prevent a medical malpractice claim from being investigated and ultimately filed against them.


In Illinois, a law was recently passed making it much easier to obtain your loved one's medical records after they die. 735 ILCS 5/8-2001.5 requires the medical provider to release the deceased's persons medical records to the following individuals:

1. The agent appointed as health care power of attorney by the deceased; 

2. The executor of the deceased person's estate; or

3. The administrator of the deceased person's estate.

If an agent, executor or administrator has NOT been appointed, then the following individuals are authorized to be the personal representative of the deceased patient to receive copies of their medical records:

1. The deceased person's surviving spouse; or

2. If there is no surviving spouse, any one or more of the following:

        i. an adult son or daughter of the deceased,

        ii. a parent of the deceased, or

        iii. an adult brother or sister of the deceased.

All that is required to get the medical records is for an individual named above to sign the Authorized Relative Certification form contained in the statute, provide a certified copy of the death certificate and pay the normal copy charges.

If you believe a loved one died as a result of medical malpractice or if you are having difficulty getting the medical records to investigate that possibility, contact the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid for a free consultation.  We will help you get the answers you and your family deserve and need.

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "Committed To My Cause"

    I was struck by a car while cycling and severely, almost fatally injured. A team of excellent medical professionals performed complicated and extensive surgical and medical procedures as part of a successful effort to restore my health....-Jeff D.

  • "Could not have made a better choice"

    We found Mark [Mathys] through the web after an auto accident in October 2011. While selecting someone you don't know to represent you can be a gamble, we could not have made a better choice....- Dave

  • "Very satisfied"

    Mark [Mathys] is very professional. He responds almost immediately, via email, to any question, comment or concern I have and if he is not able to respond right away, he will let me know. I have been very satisfied with Mark so far and I am happy to be his client.-Jennifer

  • "Easy to talk to"

    Mr. Mathys and Mr. Schneid were very professional and easy to talk to. Prior to working with them, my wife and I had no real experience with the legal system beyond a house closing, yet Mr. Mathys and Mr. Schneid explained the whole process to us very well. I knew that whenever I had a concern about our case or the legal system in general I could call their office or send an email and receive answers the same day...-Larry

  • "Provided very wise advice"

    I've dealt with attorneys on a variety of issues, almost all of them since leaving college and entering the workplace. Mr. Mathys was the first attorney I had any real experience with, and I was impressed then and remain so. He provided very wise advice and always kept me informed. In the end, he delivered a favorable result. I recommend him highly.- Tyler D.

  • "In-depth knowledge of the law"

    Mark [Schneid] is an excellent and skilled attorney and demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the law when he helped settle my dog bite lawsuit resulting from a traumatic incident. He explained what was needed of me and how I should handle the situation in a professional manner.- Karen K.

  • "They went to bat for me"

    Not long ago I was involved in a car accident where I was hit by a gravel truck at an intersection. After I called Mathys & Schneid, even though I didn't have a very large case, they made me feel like I was one of their most important cases. They went to bat for me with the trucking company's insurance and got me a settlement. I would definitely recommend them to my family and friends.-Dan H.

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