Applying Data Analytics to Mass Torts | Part 2: How Data Improves Process

by | Dec 16, 2019

In our prior post, we shared how data analytics can help mass tort law firms develop wider claimant pools—either from overlooked populations or by identifying potential claimants in new cases. Using data can also help reduce outreach costs by providing efficiencies in terms of more clearly pinpointing and reaching more injured parties along a range of data sets.

In this blog, we look at other ways in which data analytics are creating efficiencies that improve the litigation process, as well as a law firm’s internal workflow.

Shaping Litigation

While data analytics is a valuable tool during the litigation process, it is also playing a role before cases are heard. To wit, some judges are asking for an initial census, through which the number of potential claims, claimant demographics, injury spread and specific severity can be determined from data sets being collected for that purpose.

This happened in the 3M earplugs case. The initial census in that litigation collected basic information about the claimants (branch of the military in which he/she served, when the person used the Combat Arms earplugs and the nature of the injury if the earplugs were used). The collected data will be analyzed and used by the Court in managing the litigation. The judge in the recent JUUL litigation has indicated that he will require an initial census, as well.

Optimizing Settlement Values

Firms are applying machine learning, clustering applications and regression analysis to structure settlement matrices ever-more optimally. In short, by examining the structure and values of prior settlements yields insights to better support enhanced settlement values in current litigation. Additionally, a thorough data analysis of current claims can identify which claimants are not getting optimal settlement values from a proposed settlement structure and how those values might potentially be improved.

Improving Internal Processes

Data analytics enhance a firm’s process improvement as well as improve the accuracy of data being collected, and help attorneys, review the potential of cases for recovery.

In the realm of process improvement, data from prior litigations can be used to determine the optimal workflow for new matters; one such instance is establishing initial screening criteria to determine if claimants are likely to qualify for a particular litigation. This will potentially save review costs and medical record expenses and improve the ratio of successful outcomes to a law firm’s costs.  In addition, performance metrics can help law firms with case and personnel management staff by evaluating effectiveness of time spent and identifying areas for improvement.

Lastly, data analysis may reveal gaps in data quality or quantity, spotlighting if enough of the right data about claimants were collected to begin with. This subsequently drives process improvement and can inform where and how the firm can augment its data collection and operations.

Data analytics is a powerful tool for mass tort law firms that can help maximize the number of qualifying clients and compensability while reducing administrative costs and streamlining workflow.

Read Part 1 of this blog post

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