Legal Nurse Consulting - FAQ

What is a legal nurse consultant?

A legal nurse consultant is a licensed registered nurse within the specialty area of nursing, who has demonstrated a defined level of medical and legal knowledge for employers, clients and the public. Certification is available for the legal nurse consultant through the National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants® (CLNC®) or the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board with accreditation by the American Board of Nursing Specialties, and designated as LNCC. To be eligible for certification, the registered nurse must demonstrate extensive experience in practice as a legal nurse consultant, and successfully complete the certification examination. Certification is renewable and maintained through continuing education in the field of legal nurse consulting.

What is the difference between a paralegal and a legal nurse consultant?

Nurses are uniquely qualified to aid attorneys in their medical-legal practice, to understand medical records, medical literature, and hospital policies and procedures. A legal nurse consultant is able to define and evaluate for the court the standard of nursing care. Nurses are a cost-effective alternative to a physician consultant who has extensive practice demands. Legal education is not a requirement for legal nurse consultants, rather, nursing education and health care experience make legal nurse consultants experienced partners in the medical-legal process.

How can a legal nurse consultant assist the medical malpractice claim?

The legal nurse consultant is able to define and identify issues pertaining to liability, deviation from applicable standards of care, key players or probable defendants, causation, tampering, and damages. Utilizing medical records, the legal nurse consultant can prepare time lines and chronologies, organize and summarize the information, and screen the case for merit. The legal nurse consultant may conduct client interviews, attend IME's (independent medical evaluations), and assist in the discovery process.

How can a legal nurse consultant assist with a medical record review?

The legal nurse consultant provides detailed medical record review for medical malpractice, automobile and general liability, and group health and workers' compensation claims. This review includes conducting medical literature searches, defining and identifying issues pertaining to liability from applicable standards of care, causation, tampering and damagers. The legal nurse consultant can provide medical record time lines and chronologies, organize and summarize complex medical records, review relevant policies and procedure, and provide a detailed, concise written report.

What else can a legal nurse consultant assist me with in medical-legal issues?

The legal nurse consultant is proficient in identifying standards of care, conducting client interviews, educating attorneys regarding medical facts, preparing a cost analysis for damages, assisting with depositions, preparing trial exhibits, locating and obtaining demonstrative evidence, identifying and obtaining expert witnesses, and acting as a liaison among physicians, attorneys, and clients.

When would I hire a legal nurse consultant?

To preserve your valuable time in order to focus on the legal aspects of the case, you would hire a legal nurse consultant to conduct a thorough analysis of the medical record for interpretation, utilize their nursing background and knowledge to identify strengths and weakness of your case, access the legal nurse consultant's network of medical and professional resources, and benefit from the legal nurse's understanding of medical issues and trends related to the litigation process.