HTI Legal Nurse Consulting and Life Care Planning
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the AALNC?

American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. This is a nonprofit organization dedicated to professionalism of registered nurses who practice as consultants in the legal field. The AALNC has a code of ethics and conduct, which guide professional practice and performance.

2. What is the Role of the Legal Nurse Consultant?

The Legal Nurse Consultant will evaluate, analyze, and render an informed opinion regarding the delivery of health care or treatment and the resulting outcomes. The major role of the Legal Nurse Consultant is one of educator. We educate the attorneys, the jury, the judge, the plaintiff and defendant, and consumers.

3. What types of law firms can utilize your services?

Plaintiff firms specializing in medically related cases, personal injury, professional liability, workplace injury, nursing home litigation, etc.

Defense firms with clients who are involved in any sort of medical/nursing issues such as toxic tort, product liability, professional liability, etc.

4. What is involved in screening a malpractice case?

Four elements must be met: 1. Duty
2. Breach of Duty
3. Causation
4. Damages

When the attorney obtains the medical record I will review it for the presence of these four elements. I will then offer an opinion on the merits of the case.

5. Why should I use a registered nurse instead of a physician?

A physician expert witness charges $300 to $1000 per hour for their services. My hourly rate is significantly lower than that and in addition, physicians are not qualified to address nursing Standard of Care issues. Registered nurses are detail oriented and are much more experienced in reading the medical record and in finding significant clinical information that may help you win your case. I can help you find a medical expert witness when the need arises.

6. What is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant?

A Certified Legal Nurse Consultant has successfully completed a program in Legal Nurse Consulting and has passed an examination testing the core knowledge needed to practice as such.

7. How quickly can you have my case worked up?

Once I have the request and the information from the attorney, the case could be screened and reviewed for merit within two business days. I can submit a report summarizing the case, identifying potential defendants and identify the four elements of malpractice.

8. What is a "Standard of Care"?

A "Standard of Care" is the expectation of a practice by a prudent and reasonable health care professional in a given situation. Most professional organizations, licensing boards, and government agencies have Standards of Care that they promulgate. One example would be the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO).

9. Do you work with plaintiff or defense attorneys?

I work with both plaintiff and defense attorneys.

10. I already have paralegals working for me. Why do I need you, too?

A paralegal has no knowledge of various standards of care. My Registered Nurse License makes me uniquely able to understand how the health care system functions in order to identify problems, which the family and the attorney do not recognize, as pertinent to the case. You are also utilizing a person on a case-by-case basis, i.e.: no regular salary or benefits. The Legal Nurse Consultant also can identify potential defendants in a timely manner.

11. Will I have to supervise or train the Legal Nurse Consultant?

There is no supervision or training necessary. If you have any special requests regarding the format or handling of the case, you can let me know that up front. I am qualified to collate, paginate, and summarize the records. I can screen the case for merit and assist you in identifying missing records, fraud, potential defendants, and other documentation that may be important to the case.

12. Do you ever recommend attorneys to injured patients?

No, I refer all requests for attorney recommendations to the State Bar Association. I also emphasize that I am not qualified to give legal advice.

13. How much do you charge for your services?

A complete fee schedule will be provided upon request.

14. What is the difference between the consulting expert and the testifying expert?

The consulting expert is not expected to testify but consults with the attorney-client behind the scenes. She helps the lawyer develop the case. The testifying expert is expected to testify in deposition or trial. The consulting expert reviews and analyzes all aspects of the case. There is no limit on the scope of consultation. The testifying expert is restricted to areas of personal professional expertise. The consultant' work product is generally undiscoverable. The Testifying expert's work product is generally discoverable.


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