Paralegal Corner: Collaboration of Legal Nurse Consultants with Paralegals and Attorneys

By Mitzi Wortman, RN-BC, CCM, LNCC

A Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) can take any litigation case and review the medical records to provide valuable analysis for the legal team. Any case that requires medical record analysis can be improved by an LNC analysis. The LNC can act as an expert witness/consultant in medical malpractice, personal injury, elder abuse/neglect, worker’s compensation, criminal, product liability, environmental exposures and many other types of cases.

Who is a Legal Nurse Consultant?
All legal nurse consultants must maintain an active registered nurse license. In California, the RN practice is governed by the California Board of Registered Nurses.

How can a Legal Nurse Consultant help the litigation team?
There are two major types of professional services the LNC can provide the litigation team.

The first and most common is as a consultant. The LNC can organize large volumes of medical records and create a tool for paralegals and attorneys document management. By subcontract or as an employee, the LNC can take dozens or hundreds of legal boxes and/or electronic files and create one succinct reference tool called the Chronology Report. This report is a significant tool in identifying locating, interpreting and defining medical terms or incidents specific to causation.

Secondly, the LNC can act as an expert witness in the areas of practice they have professional experience. They are able to act as either a fact or expert witness. The LNC can assist or be called to depositions, interrogatory interpretation, attend defense medical exams as a plaintiff advocate and help create summary judgements.

Communication and collaboration with all members of the litigation team (LNCs, paralegals, and attorneys) is a continuous process of mutual feedback. Learn how to achieve this at the upcoming BASF Paralegal Section Brown Bag presentation on November 10. Visit www.sfbar.org/calendar for more information.

About the author
Mitzi Wortman is currently on the BASF Paralegal Section’s Executive Committee. Legal Nurse Consultant Certified through AALNC and acting Board of Director for Bay Area of Northern California Chapter. She acts as Mentor for Nurse Case Managers and Legal Nurse Consultants through Legal Nurse Services. Ms. Wortman is on Faculty at SFSU Paralegal Extended Learning, Paralegal Program teaching the Elder Law Course.