The Medical Legal Consultant

Medical Legal Consulting

By Joseph M. Harris, JD, DPT, PT, ATC

Attorneys lead busy lives and often rely on others, such as paralegals, to sift through medical records and analyze these records to pull out critical information and look for missing information.  This often takes some medical expertise and understanding of medical jargon and medical procedures.  When analyzing medical records, it can be very beneficial for the attorney to hire a medical legal consultant.  A medical legal consultant can be very valuable to the attorney in areas where the legal world meets the medical world such as personal injury, social security disability, workers compensation, or medical malpractice.  A medical legal consultant can save the attorney time and money by reviewing, analyzing, organizing and managing the medical record for the attorney.  The medical legal consultant can review the record and help the attorney determine if the case has merit and can focus the attorney’s attention to the most important aspects of the case.  The medical legal consultant assists the attorney in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the case and can assess evidence offered by both sides.  

Furthermore, the consultant can educate the attorney about complex issues and can perform medical research.  The consultant helps the attorney by establishing a chronology of events by reviewing the medical record and writing medical summary reports.  This helps to organize the record for depositions, hearings, trials, and mediation.  Additionally, the consultant can help the attorney find expert witnesses and can work with the expert witness in reviewing the medical record for facts and issues important to the case.  

A medical legal consultant should have expertise in both the legal and medical worlds and can help the attorney understand the standard of care and can give an opinion as to whether an act is likely to fall below the standard of care.  Additionally, they can give an opinion to the attorney as to what damages occurred as a result of a breached standard of care.  

A consultant who is familiar with Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) and Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) can analyze those tests for the attorney and can write rebuttal reports and give an organized professional opinion based on the medical record.  Furthermore, a medical legal consultant can act as a liaison to treating physicians and other healthcare providers in gathering information and investigating a claim.  As a result of reviewing the medical record, gathering information, and speaking to providers, the consultant can assist the attorney in determining future medical care and costs; developing medical and legal theories for the case; and preparation of questions for discovery and trial. 

Often consultants work closely on a case with the attorney, attending trials and depositions to help assist the attorney with questions and issues that arise during these critical times and to make note of important medical information.  Ideally, a medical legal consultant should have knowledge in expertise in both the medical and legal worlds. They can increase case value by reducing attorney time and by providing more efficient research and case review. 

If you are an attorney looking for the expertise of a medical legal consultant, The Law Office of Joseph Harris, PLLC can help you with your case. 270-222-3773