Solicitors requesting an independent medical opinion are sometimes surprised at the bill they receive for the Expert’s report. The following post is designed to assist in minimising fees associated when requesting an Expert medical opinion.
A significant part of the costs associated with obtaining an Independent Medical Opinion is the time it takes for an Expert to read through the medical brief and supplied documentation. Sometimes this can be extremely onerous and can extend to several thousands of pages of material. When a brief is supplied in electronic form it can be hard to appreciate the amount of material that the Expert is being asked to consider.
In an effort to reduce the amount of material an Expert is asked to read we often recommend solicitors and case managers consider the following approach when compiling material to be included in briefing documentation.
Specialist and Independent Reports: All specialist reports/opinions/investigations in relation to the accident/injury in question should be included.
General practice records: All GP records both before and after the date of the accident are useful and should be included.
General practice pathology results: Are of little value in matters of trauma and personal injury and can usually be omitted.
Hospital records: All hospital records following the date of the subject accident/injury should be included.
Hospital records predating the injury: Are not always valuable and can often be surmised from GP records.
Hospital Pathology results: Are of little value because important results are often handwritten in the medical chart.
Radiology Results: All radiology reports are useful even those that predate the injury or accident.
A hard indexed copy, whilst resource heavy to supply and deliver, can save the Expert time, and enable them to quickly focus on the material most important for them to consider. With the introduction of electronic hospital and medical practice records, there is a often great amount of material with little probative value supplied.
Some legal firms have adopted the practice of sending through the most important documents and withholding the less important documents (such as records predating the injury) and only supplying these upon specific request of the examiner. This latter approach is the best compromise for both Expert and instructing solicitor, initially only supplying the high probative value documentation but with the lower value material available upon specific request.