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What is a Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC)?

A legal nurse consultant is a licensed registered nurse who reviews medical facts and issues and their outcomes for various organizations. They offer an extensive education and clinical background.

What do LNCs provide to these organizations?
Some of the outcomes provided are:

  • Review, analyze and summarize the medical record

  • Prepare chronologies

  • Screen a case for merit

  • Locate experts

  • Interpret medical language

  • Research medical topics and issues

  • Assist with preparation of questions and exhibits for interrogatories, depositions and trials

  • Provide a nursing opinion, short or comprehensive report on the case

For whom does a Legal Nurse Consultant work?

A LNC can work for an organization as an employee or as an independent consultant. The organizations that can use their work can include, but are not limited to:

  • Attorneys

  • Pharmaceutical Companies

  • Medical Device Companies

  • Healthcare Systems

  • Insurance Companies

  • Government Agencies

How is a Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) different than a paralegal?

Both roles are complimentary. The LNC identifies standards of care and any deviations. They can also recognize medical issues and list potential medical complications of the injuries and possible outcomes. The four elements of a medical malpractice case can be identified.A LNC is a licensed registered nurse that has extensive education in anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. In addition, they have practiced in clinical settings.

A paralegal is under the supervision and direction of a licensed attorney and engages in legal research, reviews cases, prepares or interprets legal documents, uses technical information from references to analyze such information to develop independent decisions. Their education is law-related. Paralegal education is not standardized. There are many formats and lengths including Certificate, Associate Degree, Baccalaureate Degree and Master's Degree Programs. So the LNC provides the medical expertise while the paralegal provides the legal expertise.

Why should an organization use a Legal Nurse Consultant?

In general, an LNC is cost-effective, provides medical knowledge and experience along with a method to expand your staff as needed. More specifically, an independent LNC can be hired as needed to free up the in-house LNC to manage other cases. When the workload increases temporarily, there is no need to hire another person. An independent LNC can be matched to cases by specialty, i.e. product liability or medical malpractice. In addition, when there are expected vactions or unexpected leaves of absence by staff, an independent LNC can allow work to continue. Hiring an independent LNC means no benefits need to be paid.

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