There is legal precedent for using a Nurse Practitioner as an expert witness in legal cases. Registered Nurses have been providing legal expertise for medically based legal cases since the eighties. Registered Nurses can offer a cost effective solution as a medical witness for a legal team. However, they may not be appropriate for every case. Read on to learn more about Registered Nurse Medical Witnesses, and how they may be able to help your team.
What does a Medical Expert Witness do?
An expert witness is a person, hired by a lawyer, who has expertise that relates to the casebeing tried. The expert witness was not there at the time of the alleged accident or crime, butthey use their expertise to shed light on the situation and give the court valuable information.
This is especially useful in medically based cases, because the medical paperwork alone can be inaccessible for a standard law office. A Medical Expert Witness can translate medical documents into layman’s terms. More than that, a registered nurse can explain nurse protocol and procedure to the jury, which can be useful in cases of medical malpractice.
Things to consider
If you think a Registered Nurse may make a great expert witness for your legal team, you are probably right. But there are lots of factors to consider before making the jump. For example, nurse is an umbrella term that can cover a lot of different medical careers with differing levels of education and experience. You need to make sure the expert witness you are hiring is right for your case. Read on to learn more about what to consider when looking to hire a Nurse Medical Witness for your team.
In 2017, an Indiana court of appeals determined that a Nurse Practitioner can act as a Expert Witness on a tort injury case after initially rejecting the request. While they came to the conclusion that there is no blanket law that does not allow Registered Nurses to act as Expert Witnesses, it should be assessed on a case by case basis. Some states may have specific requirements for expert witnesses.
The medical facts of the case
A Registered Nurse is licensed and trained to treat patients, dispense medication and interpret lab results. However, their expertise is not one size fits all, and through research is required to be sure that their medical background is relevant to the case.
For example, a medical malpractice case involving a surgery might not be the best choice for aRN that does not have any clinical surgical experience, or is not a surgical nurse. However, ifthe case involves the use of anesthetics during surgery, you may be able to call an APRN,Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, as a witness. These nurses have a Masters in Nursingand often have a speciality, such as anesthetics or midwifery.
If the case involves nursing procedure or hospital procedure, an RN is an ideal expert witness, but may not be for a very complicated, medical malpractice case.
The medical background of the RN
As previously stated, the word nurse is a blanket term that can cover a lot of different types of medical careers. There are DNPs, or Doctors of Nursing Practice. A DNP has a doctorate, the highest level of practice-based nursing education, and is often found in positions of nursing leadership. There is also an APRN, or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, who has a Masters of Science and nursing. All of these nurses are RNs, or Registered Nurses, which means they have at least a bachelor degree and have passed a state exam to hold themselves out as an RN.
It is the role of the legal team to make sure that the legal witness has the qualifications, and experience necessary to cast light on the case in an effective and informed way.
The legal precedent
As always, it is best to check the legal precedent of using a nurse medical witness in a medical litigation case like yours, as well as the background of the expert witness themselves.
Choose Legal Medical Consulting for your Expert Witness needs in Dallas, TX
When it comes to experience in medical litigation, Dr. McNew (DNP) and his team at Legal Medical Consulting have everything you need. Dr. McNew has over 34 years of experience, whether in a clinical setting or in a director position. Whatever medical litigation you are facing, Legal Medical Consulting in Dallas, TX has the expertise you need.