May 10, 2018 Amanda Smith

Tracking Toxicology Reports

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The Records Company specializes in retrieving records that aren’t always easy to obtain because we know how to navigate the complex regulations that vary across state lines. Toxicology reports are one of the many types of records we retrieve for use in criminal and civil litigation. These reports are also essential for insurance claims because accident settlements often hinge upon whether intoxication is a factor.

Even though they are vital to so many cases, toxicology reports present some challenges for retrieval. On TV shows, these reports are ready within days, but in real life, they take much longer. Even with high-profile cases, these reports require weeks or even months to generate because labs operate under heavy workloads and tests are highly specialized. Furthermore, laws and regulations governing toxicology reports vary based on the state where those reports are generated as well as the type and use of the toxicology testing. These realities can complicate retrieval of toxicology reports, which makes The Records Company a valuable resource for getting these reports as quickly as possible.

Types of Toxicology Reports

Toxicology reports fall into three main categories. Medical examiners or forensic pathologists conduct post-mortem toxicology testing on bodily fluids and tissues, usually as part of an autopsy. Clinical toxicology testing documents chemical substances present in a living body and may be conducted as part of a medical examination or police investigation. Workplaces, schools, insurance providers and other institutions may require toxicology screenings, more commonly known as drug testing, to comply with their own policies.

Contents of a Toxicology Report

Toxicology reports test for chemicals present in fluids and tissues, but their contents may vary. All toxicology reports include information about the samples tested and the methods of testing, as well as any relevant information about the patient’s medical history. Then the report includes a listing of substances tested for and details about their presence, or lack thereof, in the body and notes explaining the results.

Not all toxicology reports are created equal because different tests look for different substances. Depending on the purpose of the testing, some substances may be part of a standard battery of tests, others may require specialized testing. For example, substances such as alcohol, pain medication, antidepressants, antihistamines, opiates,  marijuana, and cocaine are part of routine testing. Other prescription medications, hallucinogens, environmental toxins, or poisons require targeted testing.

Toxicology Reports and Privacy

Forensic toxicology reports may or may not be public record. In some states, forensic toxicology reports are included as part of autopsy reports and subject to the same regulations as autopsies. Some states treat autopsy reports as public record, some don’t. Other states may treat toxicology reports as separate documents and subject them to different privacy regulations. South Carolina, for example, classifies forensic toxicology reports as medical records.

Clinical toxicology reports generated in the course of medical treatment are considered medical records and are subject to state and federal privacy regulations, including HIPAA. Results of screenings from other contexts, such as workplace drug testing or police investigations, may fall under other privacy statutes, depending on their context and purpose.

Because the details of a toxicology report and its legal status can vary in so many ways, the experts at The Records Company are equipped to save you time, energy, and money by navigating the maze for you. We can determine if a toxicology report is included in an autopsy report or requires a separate inquiry. If the toxicology report is located in a state that treats it as a medical record, no problem. We have comprehensive knowledge of medical records retrieval. Contact us today to learn more about how we can get toxicology reports and any other records you need.


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