The Role of the Legal Nurse Consultant in a Personal Injury Case
Published On: October 10, 2009
I have been very fortunate to meet a group of Legal Nurse Consultants whose passion, knowledge and expertise are of great benefit to my clients and my Personal Injury Law Practice. As you may or may not know, I represent people who have been injured in a myriad of different ways — vehicular accidents, slip and falls, dog/animal bites or attacks, assault and battery, defective products /product liability and more.
In order to best represent my clients, I need to have a complete understanding of all aspects of their case including, of course, the injuries that they sustained as a result of the incident for which I’m representing them. A complete review and analysis of their past and present (and sometimes voluminous) medical records is a major component of the case and it is often through the assistance of a Legal Nurse Consultant that this gets accomplished.
Therefore, I’m thrilled to post the following article by Guest Blogger, Pat Lewis, a Registered Nurse and Legal Nurse Consultant.
How Can a Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) Help to Evaluate your Personal Injury Case?
While it is true that an LNC may not be well versed in mechanics or as an accident reconstructionist, their contribution can be made by analyzing the medical records and spotting issues otherwise overlooked. In doing so, this will help the attorney identify the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Let’s take a Motor Vehicle Accident as an example
- Are the injuries sustained consistent with the type of collision described and the client’s position in the vehicle? Restrained vs. unrestrained, driver vs. passenger. Each type of impact can result in its own specific set of injuries. Review the ER records and EMS run sheet for a description of the accident scene and injury complaints, as well as the traffic collision report. Are there any facts that support or refute liability?
- Does the client have any preexisting conditions or injuries similar to the current injuries or symptoms?>Review medical records and history, even just a list of current medications can give an insight into chronic medical conditions, look for tests or x-ray’s previously ordered as well as any billing/insurance payments on chart.
- When did the client first seek treatment?Are they compliant with treatment?Any gaps in treatment? Review the health care provider’s documentation, i.e., Physical Therapy.
- Identify crucial missing records.
- Identify medical experts needed.
- Attend Independent Medical Examinations.
The LNC can make a chronology and narrative summary in accordance to the attorney preference, research literature
regarding the issues of causation and damages. Additionally, the LNC can educate the attorney and staff regarding medical conditions, anatomy and physiology, injuries suffered by the plaintiff, obtain or create teaching materials.
These are just a few of the benefits of using an LNC in Personal Injury litigation; there may be other roles in which they can assist the attorney by request. The LNC can be an asset in all other types of cases that are medically related, not solely in Medical Malpractice.