Can I Use E-signatures on My Medical Record Release Forms?

By Josh Habegger

Many firms request medical records from National Record Retrieval using authorizations that are signed by E-Signature.  However, if it is possible, I suggest using a wet signature.  There is nothing wrong with using an e-signature, in fact, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has stated that it is acceptable on an authorization:

Electronic signatures have been considered fully acceptable as reflected in the development of HIPAA standards and guidance generally. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has stated that a HIPAA covered entity such as a doctor or hospital does not need to verify the identity of the purported signer of an electronically signed document, and that an electronic signature is a sufficient signature for an authorization form.

The issue is that they leave it up to the providers/facilities to decide if they want to accept or deny an authorization with an E-signature.

Monthly Authorization Rejection Rate

Wet Signature- less than 1%

E-Signature- Between 12%-17%

Once a provider/facility has rejected an authorization, you have to start the process all over again.  They have up to 30 days to respond to the request, so if your initial requested is rejected you may be looking at 60 days before you even find out if they have the records you need for your case.  So to make sure you get your medical records as fast as possible, it is always best to have your client physically sign the release form.

For more information or help obtaining your medical records, feel free to contact us at


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Take Notes Yourself

Taking Notes on Your Own Can Help

Court reporting is something many leave to outside sources for the depositions. Using an outside court reporter can be great, but doing your own reporting when acting as outside counsel can be even better. Mark Herrmann gave a few tips on how taking your own notes for deposition can. The three main points he made were:

  • Notes keep you focused on what matters
  • They aid your memory
  • You can use them to keep those working with you informed.

Check out his full article, Inside Straight: Reporting on Depositions. The article is posted on

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Which Deposition Service to Choose


Are You Having Trouble Choosing Between Deposition Services?

With the number of deposition services out there, at times it can be a bit overwhelming choosing which service to go with it, and which company to choose for those services. It’s easy to simply pick one without giving it much thought, such as simply choosing a court reporter. One must remember that reaching a decision too quickly can sometimes have a negative impact, and a negative impact on a deposition can prove costly during trial.

Deposition Services: How to Choose the Right Provider, an article by Sarah Ballentine, contains a few things to consider when choosing a deposition service provider. They are:

  • The provider’s location.
  • The technologies they offer.
  • The way they screen their employees.
  • The number of attorneys they can supply.

To view the full article, click here.

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How a Structured Settlement Can Be Better than a Lump Sum


People want money when they know they are entitled to it. This is more true today than it ever has been. If we order a product, or want a service, we can have access to it within a maximum of a week. Our expectations for delivery are at an all-time high, and our impatience just seems to grow.

If you are a plaintiff attorney, especially one who deals with personal injury cases, you have probably experienced this impatience on a much grander scale.

The Scenario:

You just won a large amount of money for a client who was severely injured and will need care for the rest of their lives. That care, as you know, is going to cost them a lot of money over a long period of time.

The Problem:

The plaintiff and/or their family wants of the money in lump sum.

This is understandable because when people know they are entitled to something, they usually want it all at once. In cases where the settlement is smaller, or the plaintiff was killed in a wrongful death situation, a lump sum settlement payment makes sense. But in a situation like the one I described above, it can be much more beneficial to go with a structured settlement.

The sad truth is that most people tend to get irresponsible with their spending when they have just received a lot of money. Look at a lot of this centuries lottery winners and some former professional athletes. When you put a large stack of money in front of someone, they think about what they can do with the money right then. It doesn’t mean they are bad people. It’s just that odds are, they have a lot of bills that have piled up, and probably other debt to take over that existed before they were ever injured. Of course, they’ll clear off all of their debts and try to make their lives as comfortable as possible. They have been through a lot. All of that can distract them from the fact that all of the money is meant to support them for the long run. They could quickly get caught up in spending within the first few years after the receiving it, and end up without enough money to afford the medical care they need when they are older and there’s no family members around to look after them.

Structured settlements help to fix that. It ensures the money has longevity, and that there will always be money to afford the medical care the plaintiff needs. When a client says they want a lump sum payment, think about what all they will need for the rest of their life, especially if they will be unable to provide for themselves. You’ve helped them win the case. Now help them stay on the right course for the best life possible.

Want to learn more about structured settlements vs. lump sum payments? Check out Alanna Ritchie’s article, “Would a Structured Settlement or Lump Sum Make Sense for Your Client?”

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A Few Simple Rules for Mediation


If you are like most lawyers, you have probably used mediation as a means to resolve a legal dispute. Sometimes it can be in your party’s best interest to avoid trial, though there are a lot of times when you might find it difficult to come out as successful as you would’ve liked. Kendall Reed, a contributor with, came up with ten simple rules that can help a lawyer be successful with mediation. Take a look at the first five below. They may seem like common sense, but odds are they will help.

  1. The decision makers must participate.
  2. The important documents must be physically present.
  3. Be right, but only to a point.
  4. Build a deal.
  5. Treat the other party with respect.

Check out Kendall’s full article, Mediation: Ten Rules for Success, to see the other five rules and to get a more in-depth look at all ten.

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