A collation service provided by an independent agent can prove to be a valuable resource and is of assistance to both Claimant and Defendant Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence practitioners.
An organised, professional and easy to transverse set of medical records can be key to running a successful claim. It avoids the potential for experts and solicitors to miss vital notes within jumbled sets of medical records. It presents the medical records in a clear and professional matter which makes them easy to navigate and identifies missing records at the start of the claim. It also reduces expert fees, as relevant records can be located quickly from the medical records index.
The collation of one universal set of medical records at the beginning of a claim also ensures that all parties can use the same page referenced bundle of records throughout the claim. Specific page numbers from the medical records can be referenced in the claim’s key documents such as expert reports, witness statements and pleadings.
Work load pressures can make it difficult for fee-earners to block out the necessary time to collate the records themselves and, if time can be allocated, the fee earner may find that a lower band rate will apply to the work completed, meaning their time is better spent working on higher chargeable matters.
The time it takes to properly collate, index, page reference and scan a set of medical records is lengthy, an estimated 3 hours for each 400-page lever arch file. They are likely to require an independent agent to do this work for them to ensure that a high standard of collation is achieved and to free up their own time to work on other matters.
The fees of a collation service are recoverable on an agency basis. This allows law firms to bill profit costs for the work completed by the collation service. This means that not only are records collated professionally, but that the instructing law firm can recover profit costs on the work completed by that agency.
Many agencies, such as DMR Collation, produce an electronic version of the medical records as part of their collation service which can have links inserted with bookmarks to make the document easily navigational. These electronic versions are often preferred by medical experts. They also eliminate the photocopying, admin and postage costs associated in providing paper copy medical records.
DMR Collation use an electronic bates numbering system which ensures that all page references are presented neatly with no missed pages and the page referencing does not obscure any document data. They also use a unique page referencing system which ensures that page numbers are original and not repeated and updating medical records can easily be added at a later date, without the need for extra sections.