When any personal injury case goes to trial, the client’s medical records and itemized medical bills must be certified in order to be introduced into evidence. Without this mandated certification, the judge will throw out the medical records and bills.
A certification is a document that the doctor or authorized agent of a hospital signs certifying that the bills are fair and reasonable and that the records are true and accurate. Massachusetts law requires that the certification be “subscribed and sworn to under the penalties of perjury.” M.G.L. c. 233 § 79G.
More importantly, a copy of the medical records and bills, along with a “written notice of intention to offer such bills or reports as evidence” must be mailed via certified mail return receipt requested to all opposing parties no less than ten (10) days before trial. M.G.L. c. 233 § 79G. Once the return receipt has been received, counsel must file an Affidavit with the court stating that he or she has complied with the obligations required by M.G.L. c. 233 § 79G.
When sending out the written notice of intention along with a copy of all the medical records and bills to the opposing party, there is no requirement to send the doctor’s certification at that time. It can be very time consuming to get all the certifications signed. There are even times when the certifications are signed by the doctors just days before the trial. Luckily, Massachusetts law doesn’t require the signed certifications to accompany the copies of medical records and bills when sending them to opposing counsel. In Knight v. Maersk Container Service Co., Inc., 49 Mass.App.Ct. 254 (2000), the Plaintiff objected to a medical report submitted at trial by the Defendants because the doctor’s signed certification had not accompanied a copy of the medical report that was sent to Plaintiff’s counsel prior to the trial. Referring to the statute, the judge listed the requirements that must be met:
• Written notice of intention and a copy of the report/bill mailed certified mail return receipt requested to opposing party no less than ten (10) days before trial;
• An affidavit to be filed with the court; and • The medical report/bill certified by the doctor.
The judge ruled that the certification must accompany the medical report when it is being offered at trial and not mandatory when serving a copy of the report upon the opposing party.
Karsner & Meehan, P.C. is a well-established law firm. We have handled personal injury litigation cases for over 30 years. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in Bristol County, Plymouth County, or elsewhere in Massachusetts, you should contact the Massachusetts personal injury attorneys at Karsner & Meehan, P.C. to schedule your free consultation. We are ready to help you in difficult times.