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  • Swinehart Consulting, LLC

Five Great Reasons to Hire a Legal Nurse Consultant

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Legal nurse consultants are registered nurses that consult on medical issues for attorneys. They assist with many different types of cases including nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, personal injury, wrongful death and product liability. Legal nurse consultants help lawyers with intake decisions, pleadings, case management, testimony and other duties from a case’s inception through trial. Some legal nurse consultants are specialists in certain types of cases, such as nursing home abuse or in certain types of conditions, such as back injuries.

Number 1: Legal Nurse Consultants Can Evaluate Initial Medical Records for Intake Decisions

The most important decision every attorney makes about a case is whether or not they should commit their time and money to it in the first place. Most attorneys handling injury cases work on contingency, which means that they do not get paid until and unless they win their case. Legal nurse consultants can read and interpret medical records quickly and efficiently because they have training and experience with the terminology and methodology used by medical professionals. Dedicated legal nurse consultants can achieve must faster turn-around times than medical doctors, making it less likely that the client will seek other counsel while waiting for an intake decision.

Number 2: Legal Nurse Consultants Can Assess Whether a Medical Professional Used the Proper Standard of Care

In order to prove that a medical professional or facility was negligent in the care provided, the care given must be compared to the standard of care that is required. Legal nurse consultants have the experience and training to assess whether or not this standard of care was provided based on a review of the medical reports. They can pinpoint exactly where a medical professional went wrong and provide evidence of the care standard for the condition or procedure at issue. Legal nurse consultants can provide arguments both for and against malpractice, giving you a look at both sides of the issue.

Number 3: Legal Nurse Consultants Can Let You Know If Negligence Actually Caused The Injuries

All medical malpractice and personal injury cases require proof of proximate cause. Proximate cause is simply whether the negligent act actually caused the injuries alleged. For example, let’s say a car accident victim claims that he suffered from a right shoulder injury that required surgery, suing the car that hit him. A legal nurse consultant can review the claimant’s medical records and see that he did not complain about the right shoulder at the emergency room after the accident, and that he had injured his shoulder in a prior work accident . Conclusion - the accident might not have caused the injury. With medical malpractice and nursing home abuse cases a legal nurse consultant can sometimes see that a patient would have become more ill or passed away even if the proper standard of care had been used.

Number 4: Legal Nurse Consultants Can Help You Determine the Value of a Case

Litigation is very expensive so it’s always important to know whether it’s likely that sufficient damages will be collected to recoup the investment and turn a profit. A legal nurse consultant can determine how severe the injuries are, and how likely they are to result in a permanent disability. Their training and experience allows them to distinguish between a new injury and one that was pre-existing. Once a case is retained, legal nurse consultant reports can be helpful when putting together demands for settlement and for charging the jury.

Number 5: Legal Nurse Consultants Can Assist Attorneys During Every Stage of a Case

Legal nurse consultants usually begin their work on a case with reviewing medical records and writing merit reports. Once a case is accepted by an attorney, they can continue to be of assistance by reviewing updated medical reports, preparing reports regarding the permanency of an injury and preparing bills of particulars. Legal nurse consultants can also testify in court as expert witnesses, and they are usually better prepared and less costly than hiring doctors.

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