Quick Tips

Managing Medical Records in Litigation - Part 1
guest author: Melanie S. Taylor

Medical records tend to be voluminous and intimidating. It seems impossible to get them on time and complete on the first try, and when they do arrive, you can't read the hand-written notes or make sense of the typed ones. I may not be able solve those problems for you, but I do want to share several best practices for getting the records you need and managing them throughout the case.

  1. Start Early. Preparing records for trial starts well before trial. Start identifying medical providers as soon as the plaintiff has identified them. This is as early as their intake meeting if you are the plaintiff. For the defense, look at their pre-suit claim or demand. Review their responses to first interrogatories and requests as soon as they arrive.
  1. Call Providers. It is frustrating to learn a month or more later that your request for records was mailed to the wrong location or the record custodian is actually at a different location. You can save yourself time and hassle by calling the providers ahead of time to make sure you have the correct address and direct the Request to the correct person.
  1. Get and Stay Organized. Medical records are voluminous. Don't wait until you have hundreds of pages before you organize them.
  1. Categorize Them. You may just need the nursing records, or records of a certain treated. Perhaps you need everything (or have no idea what you will need) and better sort them chronologically. Think about how you and your attorney will use the records and categorize them to suit that purpose.
  1. Get Certified. At the time you collect records, make sure they are certified so you aren't scrambling during trial preparation to get a full and certified set for evidence.


Melanie S. Taylor is a partner with Bendin, Sumrall & Ladner, LLC, in Atlanta, Georgia. Her medical malpractice and business litigation practice represents corporations, business owners, hospitals, and individual medical providers in matters ranging from risk management to litigation. Ms. Taylor is counsel for businesses ranging in size from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies in the retail, financial, and construction industries. She advises her clients on how to mitigate risks, best practices after becoming involved in litigation, and alternative dispute resolution. Ms. Taylor's representation involves preparing her clients and experts for all stages of litigation and defending against allegations of professional or ordinary negligence, wrongful death, and agency and employment relationships and other liability claims. Prior to joining Bendin, Sumrall & Ladner, LLC, she was a litigator with large national firms, where she worked on cases involving class actions, construction, mold, product liability, contracts, insurance defense, pharmaceuticals and general litigation. Ms. Taylor graduated, with honors, from Duke University with joint degrees in political science and Spanish then matriculated to Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

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