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  • Swinehart Consulting, LLC

Why Legal Nurse Consultants Are More Important Than Ever

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

The 21st Century didn’t feel very different than the one before until we hit 2020. Now everything’s changing at a very rapid pace and professionals that figure out how to best work in the “new normal” will be the most successful going forward. It’s been a challenge for attorneys used to having a physical office staff to get used to working at home and outside their office “comfort zone.” After a long stretch without much support, attorneys are thinking about what their support needs are going forward. Medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys have found that the help they need most is collecting and analyzing medical records. That’s why virtual legal nurse consultants are becoming an increasingly important part of “new normal” staffing for medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys.

Legal Nurse Consultants Are Used To Working Virtually

Legal nurse consultants have been supporting medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys virtually for many years, so they didn’t miss a beat when physical offices were forced to close. Regular support staff suddenly forced to work from home often had a huge learning curve that diminished productivity. Legal staffers that were not computer savvy sometimes could not function usefully at all. That’s why many attorneys turned to their legal nurse consultants to help them in new ways, finding them more useful than staff that does not have medical training. For example, legal nurse consultants are much more effective for doing initial intakes than receptionists, secretaries and paralegals. Legal nurse consultants know what questions to ask potential clients to assess whether their injuries are serious enough to merit making a case, so that only clients that are likely to be retained are transferred to the attorney. Most hospitals are providing medical records electronically, making it practical for legal nurse consultants to obtain and manage medical records for clients offsite, updating the client’s file in the cloud. Meetings with the attorneys, expert witnesses and clients can be conducted on Zoom now that everybody’s used to using it. If you’re finding that your “old normal” staff is not providing what you need anymore, hiring Swinehart Consulting as your virtual legal consultant may be your solution.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases Are Becoming More Common

The Covid 19 Pandemic has brought to the forefront the atrocities ongoing in nursing homes. It’s not surprising that many long term care facilities are trying very hard to cover up their misdeeds in the hope of thwarting the inevitable slew of litigation headed their way. Personal injury attorneys handling nursing abuse and neglect cases need help from nursing home legal nurse consultants that are familiar with all the procedures and standards at nursing homes to be able to assess whether a nursing home has not lived up to their responsibility. Nursing homes are claiming that people died of “natural causes” when it’s likely they died of Covid 19. An experienced legal nurse consultant can review the records from the facility and the patient’s doctors to determine whether the set of symptoms was likely Covid 19 or something else. When attorneys or paralegals receive records, they are usually not familiar enough with protocols to notice that required pages are missing or that information is whited out. In addition to the records for individual patients, nursing homes are required to keep records of the procedures and protocols used in the facility and section where the patient resides. Errors and omissions in these documents can be spotted by savvy legal nurse consultants that are familiar with the rules and regulations that apply. There are also additional regulations that have been put into place during the Pandemic, adding another level of research for nursing home cases. Swinehart Consulting has a team of legal nurse consultants with experience working in nursing homes that can help you bring your nursing home abuse and neglect case successfully.

Medical Malpractice In the Age of Covid 19

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for medical malpractice attorneys to bring cases against health care practitioners and facilities for malpractice that involved Covid 19. States such as New York are changing the standards that apply for these cases, allowing only cases where there has been gross negligence or recklessness to proceed. This is understandable due to the lack of information that was available to doctors, which translates into great difficulty in determining the standard of care that should apply. For example, many patients died BECAUSE they were put on ventilators, but the doctors did not have the information yet that this could happen. This is why the medical expertise of an experienced legal nurse consultant is so crucial to successfully handling these claims. To show gross negligence or recklessness there must be an outrageous or flagrant disregard for the standard of care. Experienced legal nurse consultants know how to leave no stone unturned when examining records, finding the evidence of gross negligence or recklessness if it’s there. Now that Covid 19 has been around for a while, care is settling into a standard, but it’s changing day by day and requires the expertise of a medical professional to properly follow its course. This is one of the many reasons why a legal nurse consultant is a valuable member of your medical malpractice and personal injury team, and now is the time to add or expand this relationship.

Legal Nurse Consultants Are Helping Practices Expand

Now that the boundaries of a physical office are less relevant, attorneys are realizing that expanding their practice exponentially isn’t so unrealistic. It’s now possible to handle as many cases as you can sign up with the right support. For personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys having a legal nurse consultant that can assess new cases, obtain and analyze medical records, draft pleadings and motions, draft opposition and write memos can mean the difference between staying small time and entering the big leagues.

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