A Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) is an experienced Registered Nurse with additional training and/or experience in legal matters. A nurse has the anatomical knowledge to help evaluate injuries and can help the attorney tell the story of the injuries to a jury. A nurse who has worked in a Trauma Center will have training to help distinguish between different types of sharp force trauma (stab vs incised vs chop wounds) or blunt force trauma and some can even help produce demonstrative evidence to show this to a jury. This type of expertise can be invaluable in proving or throwing into doubt certain aspects of a case.
When a legal professional is reading through medical records and pathology reports they can get bogged down in doing research about abrasion- vs avulsion- injuries: how are they differentiated? What aspects do they have in common? What mechanisms of injury can cause an avulsion? What mechanisms of injury cause abrasions? Is there any crossover? And most importantly: Does how the plaintiff says the injury happened track with how the injury looks or is described in the medical record?
An experienced medical professional can help elucidate all of this information and point out certain details that may have been missed by non-medically trained professionals; and a nurse can do it for you at a fraction of the cost of a physician.
I'm Jennifer Pettigrew and, true story, I first became interested in Legal Nurse Consulting after my auto insurance company was sued following a car accident in which I was found to be at fault. I wasn't sued until after the statute of limitations was up but an exception was made and the plaintiff alleged that because of being rear-ended he was on pain medications chronically which caused him to develop diabetes and become blind. As a nurse I knew that Diabetic retinopathy cannot develop over the course of just a few years but rather is a complication that develops after several years of untreated or poorly treated diabetes. The case was settled by the insurance company before ever going to court for several million dollars, but from that point on I have been interested in the difference medical professionals could make in legal proceedings.