What Is a Legal Nurse Consultant?

Legal nurse consultants (LNC) are medical professionals who are hired by consulting firms, government offices, insurance companies, hospital risk management departments, independent practices, and law firms. They provide their medical expertise as a resource to these industries and bridge the gap in their medical knowledge.

25 percent of the cases handled by law firms are related to medicine or healthcare. There is a wide opening for LNCs to step in. Furthermore, LNCs have an advantage due to their understanding of legal dynamics.

Investigate cases

Solicitors are involved in extensive detective work and need to examine various medical aspects of the case. An LNC can assist with forensics by examining blood or tissue DNA samples. They can also make sure that the local authorities have done a thorough job on post mortem and other analysis. An LNC can also fill in the solicitor using the right terms regarding medical procedures and tests.

Review medical records

The LNC can review medical records to determine if any negligence in duty or tampering of evidence has taken place. They can brief the solicitor regarding the contents of the report. They also ascertain the standard of healthcare provided to the patient, which may be valuable information to the solicitor. Thus, they can gain an insight into the health condition of the patient and his medical environment.

Educate involved parties

A solicitor has access to the medical profile created by the LNCs extensive knowledge of the patient and her environment. They can put this data to use in building their case. An LNC can also be an intermediary between medical experts and the law firm. They also interpret graphs, charts, and translate medical jargon for the solicitor.

Prepare for trials

Regarding cases that reach the trial stage, LNCs prepare medical facts, reports and summaries, chronologies of medical events, graphic exhibits, and other evidence required to be submitted in court. They may lend their expertise to form a questionnaire assisting the solicitor in cross examination of medical witnesses.

Testify as expert witness

The prosecuting solicitor may call upon the LNC as an expert witness to provide data, facts and opinions regarding the case. Not only does she provide valuable testimony but may also identify, locate and retain experts that share their insights to the case. Thus, the LNC brings the varied expertise of other medical professionals as well.

LNCs are valuable subordinates to have during a medical cross examination. However, not all solicitors share this view. Some prefer the long term experience of medical nurses employed by public hospitals over LNCs. The reason for this is that the testimony of an experienced, on call nurse in the witness stand has more weight than a LNC. While LNCs are medical professionals, they do not practice and only provide consultations. However, it is still advantageous to have an LNC on hand for their interpretation of medical situations.