What does a legal nurse consultant do?
Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) are specialized nurses who provide medical expertise to people or groups who handle legal issues, like lawyers, court officers, lawmakers, insurance companies, or government agencies. For example, in a lawsuit or court case where the defendant claims he was injured, a legal nurse consultant might be brought in to assess the defendant’s medical records or testify about a particular kind of injury in general. Or if an insurance company is investigating the validity of a person’s claim, the legal nurse consultant might be called in to share expertise. Basically, a legal nurse consultant can be the bridge between the legal and healthcare worlds.
A legal nurse consultant’s responsibilities may include:
- Reading and interpreting medical records/histories
- Working with attorneys to draft legal documents with medically sound information
- Providing background medical research
- Interviewing clients
- Offering advice and medical insight to legal professionals about particular health issues or nursing practices in general
- Consulting on healthcare legislation
- Writing reports
- Testifying in court as a witness
Legal nurse consultants are often hired directly by law firms, government agencies, insurance companies, nonprofits, healthcare facilities, or forensic laboratories. There are also legal nurse consulting firms that employ LNCs and have them work with clients on a consultant basis. LNCs may also go into business for themselves, setting up direct client relationships. They may work part-time (balancing legal duties with other nursing jobs) or full-time, depending on the employer. About half of LNCs are directly employed by private institutions, while the other half are independent contractors.