A Legal Nurse Consultant is offering advice to lawyers, legal and paralegal experts concerning the law’s medically-related issues. The clinical and educational expertise of Legal Nurse Consultants qualify them to analyze and carefully asses complicated medical details and offer informed opinions to lawyers when it comes to medical-legal matters.
Legal Nurse Consultants also assists attorneys in different matters, which include medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, sexual assault, criminal defense cases, personal injury, toxic tort, nursing liability, and wrongful death. They also serve as valuable individuals to bridge the gap between the legal and medical industries since a lot of legal industry professional don’t understand all medical terminologies.
Duties and Responsibilities of Legal Nurse Consultants
Legal Nurse Consultants are certified and registered nurses who provide medical information to legal professionals and entities about some medical-related issues. Their role is to offer expert medical advice that may constitute reviewing medical records, determining standards of care and preparing for summaries and reports about illness or injuries.
In addition, they are screening new cases for merit, interview healthcare experts, formulate theories regarding medical-legal cases, and act as liaisons between medical experts, law firms and some other parties. They also determine deviations from standards of care, conduct research on medical literature, and conduct medical examinations.
One of the main roles of a Legal Nurse Consultant is to manage and analyze the medical records of a plaintiff. They also assist in the assessments of medical records, interpretation of notes made by nurses and physicians and preparation of medical charts, timelines and diagrams.
A Legal Nurse Consultant is a licensed, registered nurse with at least five years of experience in any nursing specialty. Majority of LNCs posses a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and there are some who have other advanced degrees. They generally enter into the field of legal nurse consulting by taking a coursework in consulting and/or getting a legal nurse consulting certification. It is also important to note that critical thinking skills and strong problem management is one of the main requirements to become an effective Legal Nurse Consultant.
There are about 50% of the entire Legal Nurse Consultants who are currently employed in insurance companies and law firms. Also, most of them are working in private institutions while the other half is working as independent nurse consultants.
Salary and Job outlook
Those Legal Nurse Consultants who are working in law firms are earning less slightly than independent counterparts. They have billing rates that range between 60 to 100 dollars every hour and an annual income are roughly around 50,000 and 75,000 dollars. Depending on the nursing specialty and task, the bill rates of independent consultants range from 65 to 200 dollars every hour. Generally, they also charge minimum fees when they are serving as expert witnesses.
Legal nurse consulting is actually considered as one of the 10 best careers to date. With more than one million licensed attorneys in the US and the number is still growing today, the demand for Legal Nurse Consultants will also continue. Many attorneys will seek professional advice from the best Legal Nurse Consultants on their case’s medical aspects.
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