This Month’s Question
What Value Can a Medical Consultant Add?
PNW Medical-Consulting Answer
Over the past year I have been asked repeatedly, “What value can you add to my cases?” Let’s take a look at some examples – and you can decide if it is worth having a medical expert take a look at your case in the early period.
In a complicated personal injury case involving an automobile accident a man died in a head on collision. He was a passenger in a car driven by his wife. The other driver was clearly at fault and the process was in progress to recover damages. The wife of the deceased man suffered serious physical injuries – but also suffered emotional/mental injuries including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She decided to settle a portion of her case (the wrongful death portion) without informing her attorney – and told the attorney after the fact. There was more work to be done regarding the woman’s future medical needs. It was at this point in the case when one of our consultants was brought on board. With his psychiatric background it was quickly evident to the consultant that this behavior (settling a case without knowledge of her attorney) was diagnostic for PTSD. This fact had not been previously considered and has given a fresh face to the case. It is likely that this will lead to significantly more monetary reimbursement to the client. This is a case of a simple fact, easily overlooked if not for our expert, that has major implications at settlement time.
In a personal injury case, involving a low speed impact, a young woman sustained a debilitating nerve injury. She was a restrained passenger in a rear end collision – with the assaulting vehicle being a full sized semi truck. Her symptoms were initially a ‘sore’ shoulder and neck. Over time her picture progressed into a devastating case of thoracic outlet syndrome. As one would expect, the defense team opined that the impact occurred at a velocity too low to cause serious injury. Our consultant was able to find a plethora of medical literature from well known authorities to unequivocally show causation. Articles included a landmark study showing that carnival ‘bumper cars’ have enough velocity to elicit serious injury. Another article demonstrated the cascade effect that occurs in these types of injuries. Clearly a minor injury in people with a genetic predisposition leads to devastating sequalae negating the common defense argument that the genetic deformity is the cause of a person’s pain – not the semi-truck that rear ended them. Finally, an article from the medical literature demonstrated that the diagnosis of this malady is not simply a diagnosis made by EMG or any other test (as is claimed by some) – but rather a clinical diagnosis best made by a physician with vast experience with the problem. The diagnosis is best made by considering the history, physical exam, and finally radiological or neurological testing. This deflated the defense position that the patient did not truly have TOS because ‘the EMG was abnormal, but not enough so to cause symptoms as severe as those exhibited by this patient.’
Let Us Know How We Can Help You
- Medical Summary Reports
- Help with strategies to promote medical theories
- Interpretation of meaning, or lack thereof, of medical reports &
- Attendance at IME’s
- Reviews of IME Reports
- Independent Record Reviews
- Assessment of case validity regarding medical issues
- Referral to appropriate expert medical witnesses
- Medical Research
- Facilitation of communication with clients, families, professionals and
service & governmental agencies
- Case Coordination
- Facilitation of communication with treating doctors
- Table-side deposition assistance or deposition question preparation
I attempt to keep fees within reason allowing you the opportunity to have us
review your cases early in your representation while controlling your