[Editor’s note: In my previous post, I noted that all unfocused and broad-based discovery invariably leads to unnecessary direct legal costs as well as indirect costs. Because of the importance and complexity of this issue, the next few blog posts will delve into the specific types of discovery that can contribute to unnecessary costs. First up is the topic of medical records discovery which will be covered by my colleague, Don Douglass. Don is a veteran insurance defense attorney with 30+ years of experience. John Conlon]
Controlling Medical Records Acquisition & Review Costs
Donald D. Douglass
There is no question that obtaining and evaluating medical records is an important part of defending a personal injury lawsuit and other litigated cases with medical issues. However, there is also no question that not all medical records are necessary to have in all cases.
The Problems with an Unfocused Records Acquisition Strategy
The above point was driven home to me recently upon reviewing several large legal bill invoices submitted by a firm defending a personal injury claim. I noticed that the paralegal was reviewing all written discovery received and deposition transcripts for the purpose of determining if there were more records (including medical records) to be obtained. I also noticed that any potential record identified was being requested automatically. As a result, a substantial number of additional medical records had been ordered – many of which turned out to be duplicates of records already received.
The financial ramifications of ordering so many additional medical records were obvious. In addition to the multiple billing entries for letters, notices, waivers, authorizations, subpoenas, phone calls, emails and follow up communications, there also were the actual costs to obtain the additional records from the providers. And after the records were received, the even more expensive processes of organizing, summarizing, indexing and evaluating were documented in more billing entries. Continue reading