Law firms and corporations commonly retain record retrieval services. For law firms, record retrieval is essential for gathering case evidence, while corporations use retrieval services for a variety of retrieval needs, such as background checks, workers compensation cases, and financial investigation, to name a few. But in each case, the legalities surrounding record retrieval depend on two factors: the ability of an entity to possess the type of record in question, and the official steps necessary for the entity to obtain the record. For law firms and corporations, both of which can obtain most records, the minutia surrounding record obtainment can be time consuming, hence the need for retrieval services-also known as obtainment services and procurement services-which are commonly found within agencies that also offer court reporting and other legal services.
Record Retrieval Requirements by Record Retrieval Request
The ability of an entity to obtain records varies by record retrieval request. Below, we examine the steps required to obtain some common types of records when an entity works through a record obtainment service.
1. Medical Files
In recent years, HIPPA has made obtaining medical records increasingly difficult, causing records custodians to turn down record subpoenas that aren’t attended by a statement of assurance, which an obtainment service will prepare for the signature and authorization of the entity that is making the request.
2. Social Security Files
The Social Security Administration requires authorization and consent for release of information before it will release its records. The subject of the request must sign the release. A procurement service can arrange for these requirements to be met in a timely manner.
3. Workers Compensation Files
Obtaining workers compensation information requires the following measures, which can be handled by a procurement service in a timely manner: an authorization form signed by the subject of the request, and copies of the original compensation petition and the defendant’s answer to the petition.
4. Personnel and Payroll Files
While some records custodians will respond to a subpoena, others require an authorization form signed by the subject of the request, which an obtainment service can secure in a timely manner.
5. Police Files
Police files don’t require authorization. But they do require the following information in order for files to be accurately retrieved: the police agency where the information resides, the date and location of the incident in question, and the names of those involved in the incident.
6. Income Tax Files
To obtain income tax information, the IRS requires entities to obtain and sign a Request For Copy of Tax Return form, officially known as Form 4506. Obtainment services forward the form to the correct IRS office once the requestor signs it.