Medical record chronologies are a useful aid to both fee earners and medical experts when embarking on litigation.
The preparation of a medical record chronology can provide a useful timeline of events which assists in preparing the necessary pleadings.
A chronology can help the fee earner when assessing the merits of a claim. It will allow a fee earner to determine whether the Claimant’s statement of events is supported by the documented medical evidence.
Having a clear and concise chronology means fee earners focus on the key issues in the claim and can ensure that vital medical notes are not overlooked. It will also help in drafting accurate and detailed instructions to your medical expert.
At DMR Collation, chronologies are prepared by experienced and qualified nurse analysts who know exactly what to look for, depending on the case circumstances. A chronology checklist is used when preparing chronologies to ensure that nothing is missed and all issues relating to limitation, liability, contributory negligence, claimant credibility, causation and quantum are identified and documented.
In personal injury and clinical negligence claims various key issues will need to be identified from the medical records which include:
- The issue of Limitation. As you will be aware, claimants only have 3 years from the date of their injury or the date they knew or ought to have known their injury was caused by the Defendant’s negligence to issue court proceedings. These dates will need to be checked against the Claimant’s medical records to ensure court proceedings are brought in time.
- The description of the injury as recorded in the medical records. A crucial piece of evidence in litigation claims can be how the mechanism of the injury is described in the medical records. The court gives a lot of weight to the description recorded in the medical records as it considers this to be a piece of evidence made without the contemplation of litigation. If this differs to the Claimant’s version of events this would be highlighted in the chronology.
- The nature and extent of the Claimant’s injury. The medical records will need to be reviewed to identify any relevant pre-existing or post-existing injuries, in addition to the specific injuries sustained by the Claimant in the index incident, details of treatment received and planned, and the Claimant’s current condition and prognosis.
- Whether any medical records are missing. Only by reviewing the medical records fully can it be identified whether any relevant medical records are missing. When an analysis service is not used it is common for missing records to be overlooked resulting in the need for experts to issue costly supplementary reports and the medical evidence taking longer than expected to be obtained. If missing records are identified at the start of the claim these can be obtained and incorporated into the medical records bundle before the instruction of the medical expert.
The fees of an analysis service are recoverable on an agency basis. This allows law firms to bill profit costs for the work completed by the analysis service. This means that not only are records reviewed by qualified nurses, but that the instructing law firm can recover profit costs on the work completed by that agency.