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Legal Nurse Consultant - The Sawyer School

Legal Nurse Consultant

So you want to know what does a Legal Nurse Consultant do? The job description of a Legal Nurse Consultant involves reviewing medical records, researching standards of care, screening cases for merit, locating expert witnesses, and presenting opinions on the nursing & medical aspects of cases. Below we have broken these duties out as they may apply to the types of situations or tasks that typically arise in most cases. ( According to Legal Nurse Consultant salary page, Some LNCs demand over $100 an hour.)

 Legal Nurse Consultant Job description & Duties

  • Reviewing medical cases for merit, so you don’t waste your time and resources on non-meritorious cases.
  • Assess the injuries and damages.
  • Define the (SOC) Standards of Care .
  • Identify the factors that contribute to the alleged injuries and damages.
  • Translate and Summarize medical records.
  • Organize medical records.
  • Identify deviations from, and adherences to, the applicable Standards of Care (SOC).
  • Conduct literature searches and integrate the literature and standards of care into the case analysis.
  • Analyze and establish the validity and reliability of research studies used by all involved.
  • Prepare interrogatories designed to gather all the health, medical, and nursing issues relevant to a particular case.
  • Prepare deposition or other trial examination (cross or direct) questions so as to draw out the facts or answers needed to best represent the client’s case.
  • Review, analyze, and summarize information gathered in depositions, including past testimony.
  • Identify and recommend potential defendants.
  • Expand the attorney’s medical library.
  • Interview clients, defense and plaintiff, and eye witnesses.
  • Serve as a go between for doctors, key experts, and attorneys.
  • Consult with health care providers.
  • Identify the types of expert testimony needed for a specific case.
  • Help prepare witnesses and experts for depositions.
  • Locate the most qualified expert witnesses and then communicate the issues involved in a specific case to them as needed.
  • Communicate with potential testifying experts.
  • Coordinate and attend independent medical examinations.
  • Analyze and compare expert witness reports and other work products.
  • Review and draft responses to various medical-legal documents and correspondence under the attorney’s signature.
  • Assist in the preparation of exhibits to illustrate medical-legal facts in a fashion so as to achieve a successful outcome.
  • Develop written reports for use as study tools for the attorney.
  • When relevant, attend depositions, trials, review panels, and arbitration/mediation hearings.

Benefits of Using a Legal Nurse Consultant

The recent Federal Judiciary Center guidelines and related studies has had a significant impact on the “reliability” of a “general practitioner” type of expert witness. This type of testimony is no longer acceptable in a case with any complexity. Such testimony will be almost ineffective, if it is admitted as evidence at all.

To be effective, a medical expert witness must demonstrate to the court that he or she has knowledge directly applicable to the specifics of the case at hand. Further, the theories or findings based on that knowledge must be presented in a way specific to the case at hand. Engaging a qualified LNC can be very helpful in relating case specific information to the expert’s knowledge, and then identifying the questions the expert must address in the courtroom to best illustrate the arguments of your client’s case.

Acting as an expert medical witness consultant, a LNC can help your case tremendously by first reviewing the medical history involved to identify just what information is needed from the expert witness, and then translating this need into a series of relevant questions. This is extremely beneficial in areas where Standards of Care (SOC), epidemiological/toxicological studies, or other standards even exist.

In summary, a qualified legal nurse consultant is invaluable in identifying the mistakes made in the past medical treatment of a client, locating an expert witness with truly pertinent knowledge, and strengthening the expert’s testimony.


A Winning Case Presentation

A golden opportunity awaits those who know how to take advantage of it. What am I talking about? Using today’s high-technology to present your case to a jury more effectively and persuasively. It is becoming more and more important to use today’s search and imaging software to help a jury see facts and concepts more clearly, and focus more on the issues you want them to. People remember what they see 10 times better than what they hear.

For starters, the already complex world of medical terminology and procedures has been made even more difficult for most people to understand since computers make even more information available at a much faster pace. Another reason is the level of detail at which the factors that make or break a case are discovered, again driven by today’s micro-processor technology. These and many more issues are creating the need for easy-to-understand information presented in a dynamic format.

You might already be thinking about slide projectors, video tapes, and other relics of the last century – and how you can’t be slowed down or distracted by the need to “rewind a tape” or “go back to slide 2?, when in front of a jury. You might be thinking about how you can’t risk your case on a canned presentation that becomes useless as soon as something unanticipated comes up. You are right, but this is the twenty-first century, not the twentieth.

Software exisits that enables illustrations, charts, graphs, and other case materials to be presented dynamically, on an “as needed” basis, at the click of a button! A knowledgeable certified legal nurse consultant (CLNC) can interpret the medical data, and then prepare the illustrative materials, to interactively present your client’s case. On the other side, this same system can be used very effectively to undermine the credibility of any witness by instantly retrieving and displaying documents that contradict that witness!

Unlike linear videotapes and slides, video and audio files stored on a DVD can be searched for and presented instantly, at the click of a button. No time-consuming fast-forwarding, re-winding, or other navigational procedures are needed! This new technology can be very useful. An attorney can now just press a button to present some very compelling evidence in more powerful ways. Today’s DVD technology enables an attorney to make on-the-spot decisions about which evidentiary information and/or “emotional-appeal” illustrations to present, based on the current court room situation. A certified legal nurse consultant (CLNC) with good presentation skills could interpret the medical data and prepare an extremely powerful set of presentation tools.

For example, assume your client’s eyesight was impaired by laser eye surgery (LASIK) done incorrectly. Imagine the benefits you would enjoy if you could display a real-life photograph illustrating just how your client’s vision is affected, just when you need it. Instead of using words such as “double-vision” or “ghosting”, which are vague and ambiguous at best, you could display a large screen photograph illustrating just how hard it is for your client to see objects reliably. This will drive home the point as to why your client cannot drive a car anymore, or why they can’t work, or whatever is needed to justify their cliam for damages. An experienced CLNC could interpret the medical data regarding your client’s eye and pupil measurements, incision length and position, interview the client, and prepare just such a photgraphic tool.

Dynamic presentation tools are useful in many areas involving loss of physical accumen, and are not restricted to LASIK. Loss of voice, the ability to walk, or perform some other physical activity, can be devastating to someone.