Mass tort litigation can be complex. Plaintiffs’ attorneys handling such litigation can face daunting up-front costs for client outreach and screening, document collection, file organization/retention, and infrastructure setup. Complicating matters is the sheer number of clients, the geographic area over which they may be dispersed, the time span across which their injuries took place, and the factual disparities in their cases.
Further, the plaintiffs’ attorney in a mass tort case owes a fiduciary duty to each and every client. Counsel faces the difficult challenge of mitigating the high fixed cost of overhead and maximizing the number of plaintiffs, yet still managing the litigation in a way that considers each individual client but also enables a favorable outcome.
Some common challenges include:
- Organizing and managing voluminous submissions from individual plaintiffs
- Coordinating document storage and access with other counsel
- Online and physical security for medical records, payment documentation, and other sensitive information
- Optimizing costs for large-scale high-volume litigation
To overcome such challenges, look for the following four key qualities in your mass tort managed services provider:
- Experience providing logistical support in the form of support staff, nearly immediate customized document and file infrastructure, and report generation/accessibility
- Software providing document management via a secure web-based platform that meets HIPAA requirements and can be shared by a number of users -- both within a single firm and across multiple firms
- Track record of regulatory compliance in providing on-line and physical storage of a variety of items including records, high resolution color photographs, and product
- Mobility, agility, and economy of scale
In addition to these basic qualities, your mass tort managed services provider should, at a minimum, be able to provide the following eight essential mass tort administration services.
The Eight Essential Mass Tort Administration Services
- Medical Record Retrieval and Review: Personal injury mass torts often involve a high level of detailed medical record review. Your mass tort provider should be able to manage the retrieval process for gathering plaintiff medical records. Once records are received, a team of professionals should upload the data into a secure facilitation platform to organize and review. Your attorneys should always have real-time access to current review and retrieval status.
- Plaintiff Fact Sheet Preparation: Streamlining the plaintiff fact sheet collection process adds speed and efficiency. Your mass tort provider should be able to deliver timely, efficient review and completion of fact sheets in accordance with specific court requirements, as well as following up with plaintiffs, as needed, to fill out their forms.
- Settlement Administration: Your mass tort administration provider should manage the entire settlement process for you. They should create a complete database of plaintiff information and injury coding and manage all settlement allocation services, from claims documentation and correspondence to award allocation. Depending on the extent of data and documentation, they should be able to standardize files, verify injury data against medical records and confirm relevant information needed to develop an allocation model.
- Lien Resolution: Claimants and attorneys must often repay Medicare or Medicaid for injury-related medical expenses covered after the injury, but before the personal injury case settled. Your provider should offer lien resolution services that ensure all liens are efficiently resolved. Resolution is negotiated directly with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and any individual state agencies charged with administrating Medicaid. At Epiq, we also work with clients to maintain current benefits, such as Medicare set-asides and special needs trusts (SNTs).
- QSF and Disbursements: Your provider should have a substantial foundation of knowledge and experience in disbursement and tax filing procedures with accounting and tax professionals that showcase proven expertise, resources and experience to consistently meet your needs, including both automated single or recurring disbursements.
- Claims Facilitation Software: If you have large databases of claimant information that must be accessed by multiple parties, such as third-party adjudicators, regulatory constituents or audit committees, it’s important to choose a provider who can manage information efficiently and securely. For example, with Epiq, you can rely on our web-based Claims FacilitatorSM software for reliably fast and completely secure access to this critical information.
- Integrated Contact Center Services: You need a scalable high-capacity contact center providing full support for calls, email, voice mail, text messages, chats, and faxes. Your mass tort managed services provider should have a complete range of offerings, including 24/7 support, inbound and outbound capability, multilingual operators, TTY calls, an interactive voice response (IVR) system, an integrated VOIP system, a workforce management system to forecast volume, and an integrated call recording and quality assurance system.
- Highest Security Standards: Security is of the utmost importance when dealing with high volumes of sensitive, personal information such as that involved in typical mass tort matters. Look for a provider that takes security seriously by maintaining security certification and accreditation, and offering HIPAA compliance for all cases.
Epiq meets all eight of these requirements – want to learn more about Epiq’s mass tort administration services? Click here to download a brochure.
Simeon D. (“Sim”) Rapoport serves as project director for class action and mass tort solutions at Epiq. He manages a team of project staff to ensure consistent superior client service standards, problem resolutions, consulting, budget management and project execution. Mr. Rapoport oversees a number of complex product liability cases requiring detailed claims evaluation and judgment based on evidentiary standards. Currently he is directing the administration on the New England Compounding Center mass tort litigation involving contaminated steroid products.