What Lawyers Get Out of a Document Review

  • Medicine-related cases often contain complicated documentation that lawyers may not be able to confidently decipher alone
  • This documentation may allow you to develop a power strategy or even obtain an early settlement
  • Bringing a medical expert in from the start gives a private opinion that may make all the difference — but you need to be aware of the limitations

Not every case needs to go to trial. Sometimes, you’ll find that settlements or negotiations are possible and a lot less expensive and time-consuming. If you can get a fast resolution that works for your client and saves yourself enormous amounts of inefficient work, wouldn’t you want to know how?

How Do Document Reviews Work?

A document review is your chance to get a private opinion based on what you have access to in the documentation. It’s one thing to have that stack of medical documentation — it’s another to be able to dissect and understand it as relevant to your case.

Getting an opinion on the documentation at the early stage is a chance to develop an informed and effective strategy or identify opportunities for settlement. If you find your case weak, you can save yourself the time and effort on a lost cause and advise the client on how best to resolve it. Or if you find your client has a convincingly strong case, you may be able to avoid a drawn-out process in court.

Clipboard Stethoscope

When Might a Document Review Help?

There are many times a document review can provide some helpful illumination. You should consider reaching out to a medical expert for assistance when dealing with any of the following:

  • File Reviews
  • Rebuttals
  • File Audits
  • WCB Challenges
  • Toxicology
  • Literature Reviews

You’ll find document reviews can help any time a case involves a complicated medical angle.

What Can a Document Review Determine?

Document reviews can help lawyers and their clients understand what their options are. In a case involving disability insurance or a return to work for example, they can give pointers on a claimant’s ability to return to work, their prognosis for recovery, accommodations their employer may or may not be able to provide, and the severity of the injury or illness — and consistency with what is known about the general issue.

As a document review does not involve a direct examination of the claimant, your expert reviewer will be able to provide their thoughts swiftly and privately: without compromising your strategy.

The Limitations of Document Reviews — and How to Overcome Them

Of course with a document review there is no examination of the person, and that can be a limitation. The documentation may only tell half the story, and you may not even know what you don’t know.

Your document review will also only be as good as the documentation is. If you’re dealing with outdated, low quality files, you will not find the review as beneficial.

However, a document review may at least be able to bring to your attention the need for a deeper look at an issue — such as an independent medical examination to fully and independently assess the claimant.

Whether a document review is able to get you that early settlement or is just the beginning of building your strategy, your case will generally be better for having involved a medical expert in the earliest stages. Avoid future pitfalls with a strong foundation and benefit from the expertise that’s out there.

Western Medical Assessments has decades of experience both with document reviews and independent medical examinations. If you’re a lawyer in need of some expert medical help, you’ll want to check out our law resources here.