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HIPAA protects the privacy of your confidential health information. As such, a violation occurs when a person or party unlawfully discloses your personal health information with another party without your permission.

Violations happen more often than you might think.  Some examples of HIPAA violations include:

  • Your doctor or healthcare provider disclosed information to a family member that has no business knowing your health situation.  
  • If your doctor improperly disposes of a copy of your medical records, they can be found in violation of the HIPAA.  
  • An accidental switching of medical files can be a HIPAA violation.  
  • A security breach can also qualify as a HIPAA violation, if another party was able to access your personal information  

There are many more examples of potential HIPAA violations.  You can speak with an attorney if you believe your HIPAA rights have been breached.

In order to report a HIPAA violation, you can file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights. Note that they only investigate claims against "covered entities" like your doctor, hospital, or health care provider.  You must file your complaint in writing within 180 days of the violation, and it must both describe the violation and who committed it.

After writing your complaint, sign it and fax or mail it to the Office of Civil Rights in the area where the violation happened.  You can also email your complaint to

For more help handling a potential HIPAA violation, we can help you find a lawyer.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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