Medico-Legal Industry

An outline of the medico-legal industry

The Medico-Legal industry in the UK is a busy and diverse market. A Medico-Legal case is (somewhat obviously) a case that deals with both the medical and legal aspects. This can be as simple as producing a Medico-Legal report on a car accident and as complicated as building a full Medico-Legal court case. When dealing with Medico-Legal matters, it is equally important to consider both the medical and health aspects of a situation as well as the potential for any legal claims.

Medico-Legal Ambulance

The Medico-Legal industry was set up to help innocent people who were injured due to no fault of their own. This is still an important feature of the Medico-Legal procedures that are in place today. There are several aspects to the Medico-Legal industry. Most claims will either start through a Medico-Legal lawyer/solicitor or a Medico-Legal claims management company.

 

As the Medico-Legal case progresses, it is often important to send the client to a Medico-Legal doctor to write a report. This Medico-Legal report will detail all of the client’s injuries, effects on their lifestyle and the Medico-Legal aspects of time off work and fitness to return. A Medico-Legal report needs to be written by an expert in the Medico-Legal field. These experts are called ‘Medico-Legal Expert Witnesses’. They are called witnesses, as they can both produce Medico-Legal reports for a court case and they can also attend and testify in Medico-Legal cases at court. Unlike a normal witness, Medico-Legal witnesses did not see the event in question.

 

Medico-Legal witnesses are asked to use their detailed backgrounds in medicine to say whether the accident would have caused the injuries in question. Most Medico-Legal experts specialise in a specific field of medicine. This allows them the write a Medico-Legal report with the confidence that they will be able to stand up to any questions later at a Medico-Legal trial. If a doctor specialises in a specific field, such as a Medico-Legal phlebotomist (specialising in blood), then quite often a court will obtain more than one Medico-Legal report to cover each required aspect.

Medico-Legal Injury

Some Medico-Legal experts practise in the field of Medico-Legal general practice. This means that they can comment on the Medico-Legal aspects of any complaint that may occur in a GP surgery. This can include the Medico-Legal aspects of minor injuries (lacerations, grazes, bruising, etc), internal medicine (aches, pains, and issues with organs), and psychological aspects (fear of travel, bed wetting, depression, etc).

 

A Medico-Legal GP can also comment on the treatment that a patient has already received (such as GP/A&E visits, physiotherapy, painkillers, etc). This is important as the Medico-Legal expert can then comment on any treatment’s relevance and recommend further treatment when necessary. Often a Medico-Legal witness will also comment on how long he thinks any ongoing injuries will last. This is important for a Medico-Legal court case as it will help work out whether any compensation is due.

 

Medico-Legal experts comment on both personal injury and clinical negligence claims. Both types of Medico-Legal cases require a slightly different skill set, but often have a large cross over in terms of what the Medico-Legal expert is looking for. Medico-Legal reports have to adhere to a certain standard of quality, so that the court is able to fully understand its implications. Most Medico-Legal reports will include a glossary so that technical terms can be easily understood and all Medico-Legal reports need to make a clear distinction between matters that are factual and matters that are based on opinions.

 

If a patient is required to attend a Medico-Legal examination, it is important that they spend a few minutes beforehand making a mental note of approximate dates and ways in which they have been restricted. This was save a lot of time spent trying to remember in the examination.

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Dr Asef Zafar

(MBBS MRCGP MEWI)
General Practitioner, Medico-Legal Expert and Healthcare Entrepreneur.

Medico-Legal Work

My Medico-Legal work encompasses several different aspects of the industry, but the majority of my medico-legal examinations are following personal injury or accident claims.

Feel free to contact my secretaries on 01923224929 or 01923804147