Plaintiff fact sheet (PFS) preparation and medical record review are important processes, especially in mass tort cases. These tasks are time- and labor-intensive, and have to be performed meticulously. What is a plaintiff fact sheet? A very important document in a medical-legal case, this fact sheet provides both plaintiff and defense sides an overview of the case and helps understand its strengths and weaknesses. When all information, pertinent as well as extraneous, is included in a PFS, it helps attorneys review the case thoroughly before preparing the case.
Typically, the PFS comprises a comprehensive questionnaire that is designed to take a survey of the plaintiff’s personal and medical records. It helps discover whether the person is eligible to participate in the lawsuit. In mass tort cases, this questionnaire makes it easy to present the same questions to the entire large group of plaintiffs. This helps in sorting the information pertinent to the case more efficiently. The plaintiff fact sheet is a judge dictated requirement and is not optional. A person cannot participate in a class action lawsuit unless he/she has filled out their individual fact sheet.
PFS Preparation – Challenges Attorneys Face
Now, we come to the important question of the challenges that attorneys face when preparing these important fact sheets related to plaintiffs.
- Difficult to Understand Medical Facts: The medical records are voluminous and difficult to comprehend. Especially when a large number of plaintiffs are involved as in a mass tort case, and their personal medical history needs to be evaluated, preparing a plaintiff fact sheet can be very challenging.
- Time-intensive Process: Attorneys are hard-pressed for time, and preparation of this document could be very difficult because of the sheer volume of relevant medical records. Each entry made on the fact sheet must be cross checked with the medical history of the patient. Only through this can the attorney understand the proper cause of the condition and fill out the specific entry on the PFS.
- Could Miss Vital Information: Being untrained in medical matters, attorneys could miss out on key information or consider some relevant information as irrelevant.
- Incomplete Fact Sheet: Attorneys may not be able to fill out all entries on their own, resulting in incomplete plaintiff fact sheets that the court would consider inadequate.
- Difficult to Connect Medical Records to the PFS Entries: All entries on the PFS need to be linked to the relevant medical records. Attorneys may find it challenging to peruse the numerous medical records and do the necessary linking on their own.
Why Outsource PFS Preparation to a Reliable Medical Review Company?
Here is a list of outsourcing benefits.
- Medical Records are Chronologically Arranged: When the medical records are arranged in this way, it is easier to understand the various medical events as well as their causes. This makes it easy to fill out the PFS and link them to the original medical records.
- Attorneys Can More Easily Determine the Strength or Weakness of the Case: Professional medical review companies are very familiar with the process of preparing the plaintiff fact sheets. With such an outsourcing partner to provide the required support, law firms get a clear overview of the case. The expert medical reviewers would analyze each medical record thoroughly before preparing an outline of questions that will help the legal team determine the strength or legal validity of the case.
- The PFS is Prepared in a Manner most Relevant to the Case: Since this is professionally done, all the necessary information will be available at the attorney’s fingertips. Attorneys are saved considerable time that would have otherwise been spent to understand the case in detail.
- Quick Turnaround Time: Time is crucial in medical litigation, and the outsourcing firm would prepare the plaintiff fact sheet right at the beginning of the case. This would assist legal teams to proceed with the case and speed up the entire process in court.
- Cost-effective Legal Outsourcing Solutions: Preparing and filling out a PFS requires a lot of resources and time, and the process itself is very tedious. When done in-house, it could involve a lot of administrative costs. Outsourcing would prove to be a cost-effective solution comparatively.
How a Medical Record Review Outsourcing Company Prepares And Fills a PFS
- Reviewing the Medical Records: Before preparing the PFS, the patient’s medical records are reviewed and relevant information extracted. This information is used to prepare questions, the answers of which are used to make due entries in the PFS.
- Identifying Missing Information: The plaintiff fact sheet helps to find details that are missing in the medical chart. If a question remains unanswered, it means that some records that are relevant to the case are missing. Attorneys can then obtain this crucial information before preparing the case for trial, and strengthen the case with such information.
- Filling out the PFS: With the details obtained from the patient’s medical chart, the PFS is filled out. The entries on the fact sheet would highlight the key events in the medical history of the patient.
- PFS Entries are Linked to the Source Medical Record: Each entry on the PFS is linked to the source medical record. As a result, attorneys can clearly understand how the particular event in the medical history of the patient can be associated with medical malpractice/pharmaceutical dose taken by the patient in mass tort cases.
Attorneys can thus benefit substantially by outsourcing plaintiff fact sheet preparation to a medical review company. This would simplify the processes of organizing, summarizing, and reviewing medical charts in large plaintiff cases. Outsourcing will also help reduce in-house workload, prevent paper files from piling up, avoid scanning requirements, and reduce overall expenses.