Where LNCs Practice
Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant (LNC) is a person whose job is to evaluate, analyze, and provide expert opinions about healthcare issues, such as the quality of medical care and the results of that care, related to medical-based legal cases or claims.
Examples of the type of cases a legal nurse consultant would handle include:
- Medical Malpractice: Evaluating whether the standard of care was met when the healthcare provider treated the patient
- Personal Injury: Determining if the resulting injury or healthcare issue is related to the alleged negligence
- Life Care Plan: Evaluating and calculating the future healthcare costs associated with a patient’s medical condition
- Risk Management: Making sure the medical facility complies with all state and federal regulations
Legal nurse consultants have provided support to the law and insurance industry for over 30 years. They have stepped into roles as collaborators, researchers, strategists, and educators to help litigate cases and settle claims. As the profession continues to grow and expand, more opportunities will become available to LNCs to use the skills they carefully cultivated in their nursing careers. Here are some areas where nurses are currently practicing:
- Personal injury
- Billing fraud
- Medical license investigations
- Workers’ comp
- Medial product liability
- Medial malpractice
- Risk management
- Toxic torts
- Disability compensation
- Life Care planning
- Healthcare regulation compliance
- Case management
LNCs do not practice law or perform the duties normally reserved for paralegals or legal assistants. Instead, they partner with attorneys and other professionals and use their medical expertise to assist with healthcare litigation and other medical-related legal issues. While people in this profession are not required to have a legal education, LNCs should possess a working knowledge of the law and regulatory guidelines that are relevant to the work they are doing, especially if they are working on medical tort cases.
No matter the level of legal knowledge they may have, the amount of medical knowledge and experience legal nurse consultants bring to the table makes them a valuable member of a litigation teams.
One thing that should be made clear is the fact that legal nurse consulting is a nursing specialty not a legal specialty. Nursing and the associated medical background is the heart of the profession and what sets the professional apart from the other members of the litigation team. The same process used to solve problems in nursing can be used in legal nurse consulting as well.
This process is the basis of the Standards of Practice for Legal Nurse Consultants and consists of:
- Assessment of the situation
- Analysis of available information and identification of the issue
- Identifying the outcome desired
- Implementation of the plan
- Evaluation of results