Medico-legal cases refer to those which involve both legal and medical aspects and often involve a collaboration between medical and legal professionals to ensure a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the medical aspects of the case.
Some common examples of these types of cases include: medical malpractice, personal injury, capacity and mental health issues, workplace injury, insurance claims and child custody.
Clinicians, who are usually specialists in their field, may be called upon to provide expert opinions, review medical records, testify in court, and assist in the interpretation of medical evidence and the resolution of the case.
These medical experts play a crucial role in the resolution of complex medico-legal cases.
Medico-legal cases in neurorehabilitation
Medico-legal cases are common in the context of brain injuries and neurological conditions.
Following a brain or spinal injury, a neurological event such as a stroke, infection or brain tumour, or diagnosis of a degenerative condition, an individual can experience enormous changes to their life – from physical and cognitive functioning to emotional and mental health.
Given the complexity of these conditions and the potential long-term consequences, medico-legal cases in this field often require detailed medical evaluations and expert opinions to establish causation, prognosis, and the impact on the individual’s life and future.
NRC Medical provides a comprehensive range of medico-legal services in neurological rehabilitation, including a chambers of expert neurorehabilitation consultants, neuropsychologists, and other specialists to assist in these legal proceedings.
Our experts focus exclusively on brain and spinal injuries and associated neurodisabilities, from amputation and brachial plexus injury to cerebral palsy, complex neurological disability, Guillain–Barré syndrome, musculoskeletal injury, and stroke.
They tend to be consultants or specialist therapists, usually with at least ten years experience in their field, who carry out this medico-legal work alongside their NHS and private practice clinics.
Preparing expert medico-legal reports
A medico-legal report is an impartial document prepared by an experienced medical expert that provides an analysis of the medical facts relevant to a case.
These reports are typically requested to help the court understand the medical aspects of the situation and are an important tool for solicitors representing either side of the case.
The report is designed to ensure that both sides receive a fair hearing and just resolution, and as medical-legal reports can play a crucial role in determining legal outcomes, the quality of the evidence provided is paramount.
Medico-legal experts will assess all the relevant documentation and analyse this to form an objective expert opinion on the facts of a case, such as whether a client’s condition is causally related to a certain event.
Their report may also be used to prove liability and to calculate the compensation that will be awarded to the injured person, giving guidance around future costs such as rehabilitation and care.
Members of NRC’s chambers may visit clients in their own homes or specialist service in order to gain an understanding of their cognitive ability, mental health, coping abilities and any adaptations that are required for them to live comfortably.
They will then provide a detailed assessment and prognosis to ensure the settlement of a legal case, giving the courts professional insight into an individual’s presentation, recovery potential and rehabilitation requirements.
Giving expert medico-legal testimony
In some medico-legal cases clinicians will be required to attend court to provide oral testimony as an Expert Medical Witness.
As with the written report, conclusions must be based solely on the evidence presented and not influenced by the desires of the other side of the dispute. Ultimately, the clinician’s testimony can be instrumental in determining liability or establishing causation when determining the outcome of a case.
All NRC Medical Experts have experience of attending court and are offered a comprehensive training programme to ensure they are a skilled and confident public speaker. Sometimes our medico-legal experts will also be required to attend legal conferences prior to the court date, which they are more than happy to do.
How do I find a medico-legal expert?
Finding the right medical expert for your legal case can seem like a daunting task, so solicitors are increasingly turning to agencies to help them secure the appropriate person for the position.
NRC supports legal teams, barristers and case managers to understand the circumstances of a particular case and find the right expert. We have an expansive pool of medical experts who are qualified to assist with complex medico-legal cases.
Our Medical Expert Witness Directory includes profiles of over 40 highly qualified medical professionals, consultants and health professionals to help you identify the right person for the specific case.
To discuss in more detail NRC’s medico-legal services, arrange an instruction or discuss a client’s needs, get in touch today.