Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Differentiating between Different Types of Nurses to Select an Expert Witness

     By HG.org

When choosing to hire an expert witness, the lawyer needs to evaluate the case and determine what type of nurse is needed based on the subject matter, the specifics and the evidence presented. This means a different nurse may be required for different claims and situations.
When a case arises where there is the need for medical expertise and processes, some type of healthcare expert or practitioner is necessary for various issues. When the relevance of the claim revolves around the medical world, this could be a nurse, physician, surgical consult or another professional. This means the lawyer must differentiate between the types of experts and professionals available so that he or she is able to bring the best possible experience and knowledge to the courtroom to assist in the client’s case. In many situations, this means research and asking the right questions. So, the legal representative must then consider what type of nurse is required based on reliable factors and the subject matter.

If the claim is a malpractice one, an expert witness that has been or is currently a nurse may be the most relevant and best to use for the issue. He or she is able to understand the processes utilized in the procedure, if surgery was necessary, why the injury occurred and how to translate the medical jargon. Expert witnesses chosen from various nurses may also explain the administrative side of healthcare facilities. This means the documentation, methods used, filing systems, insurance policies and paperwork and various other procedures. With the assistance of the appropriate nurse for the claim, it may be possible to ensure the entire amount of compensation is obtained for the victim of the incident.

Professional Legal Nurse Consultant

When determining which type of nurse to hire for a case, the lawyer may need to research a PLNC or Professional Legal Nurse Consultant. These persons are certified so that they may qualify as an expert witness in nursing malpractice suits. Without the nurse having this certification, she may only be a consultant and not provide testimony in the courtroom. It is vital to check the local state laws to understand if this is required. Additionally, when the nurse has acquired the certificate to act as a PLNC, he or she has exerted more energy to take part in litigation and cases with a lawyer. This could mean a stronger relationship is possible than when a standard nurse is hired for the event.

A PLNC is a type of nurse that is paid after obtaining a certification to review healthcare records and documentation. He or she provides an opinion on what standard care of nursing is needed or should have been part of the situation. The PLNC is not obligated to testify, but he or she may if he or she feels it would help him or her. This means that the nurse wants to testify, but he or she is not required to by the law or the courts. PLNC certification gives additional credibility to the nurse, and this is seen as an advantage to the jury and the lawyer when hiring an expert witness for the case.

The Nursing Expert Witness Explained

When the nurse expert is hired and has acquired the PLNC certification, he or she is then working for the lawyer. While he or she is not obligated to testify, he or she may to increase the chances for the victim to receive full compensation. Most of the information provided by this type of expert witness deals with procedures and how the incident may have involved either negligence or medical malpractice. If the matter deals with more administrative matters, a nurse that works the desk more may be the best option. However, most nurses hired have practical experience in processes, methods used, standard guidelines for care and a working relationship with physicians.

His or her details about these aspects provide the judge or jury panel an understanding about medical care, jargon and why certain protocols are followed. He or she describes the guidelines that are in place and why. This means that the courtroom is given details about how liability is avoided and litigation could be prevented when these regulations are followed correctly. The nurse may also need to detail other aspects such as the extensive hours doctors work, the long surgical procedures that take half a day to complete and similar circumstances. When the lawyer hires the correct type of nurse, the chances of success are increased significantly for the victim.

Copyright HG.org


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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