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Expert Witnesses General Information Legal Definitions

Medical Expert Witnesses Vs Legal Nurse Consultant – What Is The Difference?

Both Medical Expert Witnesses and Legal Nurse Consultants, or LNCs, are medical professionals that work with attorneys on medical cases. However, these terms are not interchangeable. Both titles come with specific qualifications and roles within the legal community. Read on to learn more about the differences, and similarities, between Expert Witnesses and Legal Nurse Consultants. 

What Is A Legal Nurse Consultant?

Legal Nurse Consultants are Registered Nurses who act as a consultant to attorneys on medical cases. Their responsibilities include reviewing and summarizing medical records in layman’s terms, and giving a professional opinion on whether or not a medical case has merit. A Legal Nurse Consultant is also helpful in explaining medical terminology and nursing practice standards to attorneys. An LNC is not required to testify in court, and helps more in the prepping process–an LNC is often brought onto a case by an attorney to help them prepare for trial, deposition and arbitration. 

What Is A Medical Expert Witness?

A Medical Expert Witness is a specific role– it is a registered nurse working in a medical field or specialty that relates closely to the case in question. This requirement is less broad than LNC– the Medical Expert Witness must have direct clinical experience in the medical specialty to be considered an expert witness. The Medical Expert Witness must review the case’s medical records and provide an informed opinion on the standard of care provided. In most cases, the Medical Expert Witness reviews the files and then provides a written report of their findings that is submitted in evidence to the court.  Unlike a Legal Nurse Consultant, the Medical Expert Witness may also be required to testify at trial or deposition. 

What Kind Of Special Education Or Certifications Do Legal Nurse Consultants Receive?

Legal Nurse Consulting is a relatively new phenomenon, starting in the eighties– The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants was founded in 1989, which is a non-profit that promotes legal nurse consulting as a nursing specialty. The AALN also created a Code of Ethics for Legal Nurse Consultants. 

There are many organizations, both commercial and non-commercial, that offer Legal Nurse Consulting training courses and certifications. The American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board offers an online course and certification that is the only certification accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties. In addition, The American Bar Association has sanctioned only 28 legal nurse consultant programs in the United States. 

What Kind Of Special Education Or Certifications Do Medical Expert Witnesses Receive?

Technically speaking, there is no specific certification required to be a Medical Expert Witness, outside of an active and unencumbered Registered Nursing License. However, Medical Experts are expected to have years of clinical and practical experience in the nursing specialty they are attesting to, and often offer their CV as proof of their extensive Medical experience and expertise. 

Can A Medical Expert Witness Be A Legal Nurse Consultant?

Because there is no specific certification required to be a Medical Expert Witness, a Legal Nurse Consultant can absolutely act as a Medical Expert Witness, especially if they have expertise in the medical field in question. However, a Legal Nurse Consultant certification is not required to act as a Medical Expert Witness. Medical expert witnesses are often chosen based upon the case and its specifics, as well as the qualifications of the medical expert witness. 

What Kind Of Organizations Hire Legal Nurse Consultants?

There are many different types of organizations that hire Legal Nurse Consultants. In addition to Law Firms, Legal Nurse Consultants can find work at various government agencies, insurance companies and hospitals as part of the risk management department. They can also be a part of an independent practice. Malpractice Insurance companies often hire Legal Nurse Consultants to assess risk, review cases and act as Medical Malpractice expert witnesses. 

Why Chose Legal Medical Consulting 

If you are looking for a Medical Legal Expert in Dallas, TX look no further than Legal Medical Consulting. With over 34 years of experience in healthcare operations, patient safety, nursing practice, and clinical care, Legal Medical Consulting has the medical expertise to win. Legal medical consulting will work with your team to create a fact-based legal strategy, using expertise in medical care, as well as healthcare operations, nursing and medicine. This has proven especially useful in medical malpractice cases. Don’t put your case on hold– call Legal Medical Consulting today! 

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