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  • Swinehart Consulting, LLC

How Legal Nurse Consultants Are Saving Malpractice Lawyers Money

For attorneys that handle cases on a contingency fee, few things are more important than making sure that valuable resources are not wasted on meritless actions. Due to the high level of investment required for medical malpractice actions, the cost of hiring a legal nurse consultant to prepare a merit report prior to retaining a case is invaluable, as it prevents wasting money on a case that is likely to be a loser. Once a case is retained, legal nurse consultants’ reports can provide organized evidence and arguments that can speed up the preparation of legal documents and facilitate faster settlements. That’s why most successful malpractice lawyers are utilizing the services of legal nurse consultants throughout the life of their malpractice cases.

Legal Nurse Consultant Merit Reports Weed Out Bad Cases

The most important financial decision a medical malpractice attorney makes is whether or not to retain a case on a contingency fee. Unlike traffic accidents cases that are often settled early, without even commencing a lawsuit, malpractice cases are usually not resolved until the brink of trial, often requiring a five figure investment. That’s why most experienced medical malpractice attorneys are hiring legal nurse consultants to assess the merits of a case before they accept it. A legal nurse consultant merit report will analyze all the available evidence to determine whether the health care professionals employed the proper standard of care or made a mistake. This enables the malpractice attorney to only retain strong cases, worthy of their investment of time and money.

Legal Nurse Consultant or Medical Doctor?

Some legal nurse consultants are not practicing in the field, and are completely devoted to researching and analyzing medical reports for attorneys. They are up-to-date on the standard of care for many areas of medicine, not just their own specialty. This devotion of time and focus means that thorough legal nurse consultant reports can be in your hands quickly. Medical doctors charge very high fees for analyzing medical records and the reports are usually not as comprehensive or persuasive, plus they take a long time to produce as the doctor’s primary commitment is to his practice. In some types of cases, such as nursing home neglect and abuse, nurses have much more hands-on experience with the policies and procedures that apply. Let’s not forget that legal nurse consultants also work for lower rates than medical doctors.

Up-to-Date Cases Save Money and Time

As the medical reports and bills come streaming in - on paper or CD/DVD’s - as e-mail attachments or faxes. . . a legal nurse consultant is the team member best able to organize and analyze these materials. Keeping this information up to date can help malpractice attorneys to purge cases that begin to show less merit as more evidence comes in, cutting losses. When an insurance adjuster calls to discuss settlement, the injuries, theories of liability, potential counter-arguments and evidence are at the attorney’s fingertips, making an early settlement more feasible. The administrative costs of producing pleadings and motions are also reduced as the information necessary for these documents is easy to find. When producing discovery requests, a legal nurse consultant’s expertise can help you request all the right documents to make your case strong.

Legal Nurse Consultants Can Be Expert Witnesses

The most substantial cost for any medical malpractice case is hiring doctors to testify as expert witnesses. Legal nurse consultants that have made serving as an expert witness their focus can be just as effective as medical doctors at a much lower cost. For cases involving nursing home neglect and abuse, they are often more knowledgeable about the appropriate standards of care and the realities of patient care. The lower cost of legal nurse consultants can sometimes allow a medical malpractice attorney to move forward with less substantial cases that they might have otherwise turned away.

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