An update to the blog, “Key Steps in the Plaintiff Fact Sheet Preparation Process”
When it comes to mass tort litigation, plaintiff fact sheets (PFS) are necessary to determine the claimants’ eligibility for participation. PFS is a standardized and court-approved form to obtain general information about the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s claim. With court deadlines approaching fast, law firms may find it time-consuming to prepare the plaintiff forms for a large group of clients in multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings along with reviewing medical records. Experienced medical record review companies can prepare, summarize, analyze and present plaintiff fact sheets for individual lawyers, law firms and attorneys.
With the increasing volume of plaintiffs in mass tort cases, federal courts often order plaintiff fact sheets, as these provide both the plaintiff and defense sides with a summary of the case. While some courts use shorter plaintiff profile forms, others require extensive plaintiff fact sheets. Plaintiffs will be required to complete the fact sheets within a stipulated period set by the court. As mass tort involves a defective drug or medical device or other product that causes injury to a large number of people, information in the fact sheet from many plaintiffs helps the attorneys to –
- analyze the validity of the claim thoroughly
- get a clear overview of the case, and
- understand its strengths and limits before trial
Best Practices to Consider
Attorneys and paralegals preparing fact sheets and filling them can consider these best practices to complete the process faster.
- When developing the PFS design, make sure that the questions are in precise language and as direct as possible. Direct questions make sure that the plaintiff provides clear and direct answers without any confusion or conflict.
- Instead of waiting for the filed case to begin, law firms can start preparing and completing the plaintiff fact sheet, when it was documented that the claimant has a qualifying injury and was exposed to the product or drug in question. By starting early, you’ll get significant time to contact the claimant and meet the court deadlines.
- Send a copy of the PFS and let the claimants know the scheduled time to complete the PFS. By staying aware of the deadline and importance of the information they provide, plaintiffs can ask and clarify any questions or doubts with lawyers. They’ll also make sure that each question has a complete response.
- Train your staff on capturing complete and accurate information about the claim. Make sure they’re familiar with the litigation practices and that they understand each question on the fact sheet. Also, train them to analyze all medical-related questions in the plaintiff fact sheet and identify relevant data points in the medical records.
- Consider taking support from expert legal nurse consultants to develop the PFS form, as they make sure that attorneys include all important medical questions related to the allegations. Professional medical claims review service providers will have expert legal nurse consultants and paralegals in their team to provide the required support in preparing and filling out a fact sheet for plaintiffs.
Law firms on the side of both plaintiffs and defendants can consider such best practices to increase the efficiency of the PFS preparation and filling process, along with managing their time and budget. Collecting and organizing all important information critical to the plaintiff’s claim will also help attorneys assess the claim on the whole. Attorneys can benefit from HIPAA-compliant medical record organization services to make the information easy to read and quickly navigable. Proper medical record review is important not only to provide proof of use, injury, and treatment, but also to identify pre-existing conditions that might limit or hinder recovery.