A nurse expert is a nurse who evaluates the care and treatment provided by other nurses against the legal standard of care. An expert formulates an opinion in support or against the care provided. After formulating an opinion, the opinion is expressed in writing such as an affidavit, or more formally through deposition or during a trial in a court of law.
In order to be considered an expert by the court, a nurse must possess sufficient knowledge, education, training or experience regarding the specific issue being considered within the litigation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_malpractice_in_the_United_States
There are also other requirements that vary by state law. These requirements may include that you have practiced in a particular setting within a particular time frame related to the case or that you practice in a state contiguous to the state where the cause of action is being brought forth. (I.e. In order to be qualified as an expert in TN you must practice in TN or in a state that surrounds TN.)
No! Many experts have practiced as a nurse for at least five years to have sufficient knowledge to be considered an expert. There is no additional education required other than the education you rely on daily as you make decisions for, and advocate on behalf of your patients.
Being a legal nurse consultant is not required. In fact, many attorneys shy away from legal nurse consultants as experts for fear the expert will be painted out to be a “hired gun”.
Most every medical malpractice case brought against a hospital or other healthcare entity such as a home health agency, nursing home etc. will require a nurse expert for the plaintiff (person bringing the lawsuit) and for the defense (hospital, home health agency, nursing home being sued). The number of lawsuits filed each year varies.
Nurses and other healthcare professionals are recruited and register with NurseExpert, Inc. at no cost.
Attorneys in need of experts contact NurseExpert, Inc.
A referral fee is paid by the law firm and a similarly situated “match” is made.
The expert is referred to the attorney.
Once an expert referral is made to an attorney, a copy of your resume is forwarded to the attorney. The process may then vary by attorney. In most cases this is the end of involvement by LegalNurse, Inc./ NurseExpert, Inc. It is the expert’s responsibility to confirm next steps with the attorney. With that said, generally speaking, the attorneys typically follow the process outlined below.
- Attorney will arrange a meeting or phone conference with the expert. (This is to confirm credentials and ensure your demeanor is a good fit for the attorney.)
- The attorney will then retain the expert which usually encompasses a letter or email of “official retention”
- A 5- 10 hour retainer fee is typically paid to the expert in advance for the review of records and other documents (the expert is required to keep up with their time; any unused portion of the retainer is usually returned)
- Following review of the records, a phone conference occurs between the attorney and expert to give a verbal opinion
- If your opinion is in support of the attorney’s case, your opinions are disclosed in some sort of written manner such as an affidavit of expert disclosure
- Following the expert disclosure, a deposition is scheduled where the opposing counsel intensely quizzes you about your opinions
- Following deposition, trial prep begins
- Several meetings or phone conferences may occur prior to going to trial
- Expert appears at trial and gives opinions consistent with opinions previously given in deposition