Welcome to SDU Health. Our website is dedicated to providing you with helpful information on medico-legal reports, working with medical experts to obtain evidence for claims, and how we can help you find the best medico-legal experts for your needs using our extensive and nationwide network.
To get in touch with us, head to our contact page and send us your enquiry, or you can call us now using the number at the top of this page.
What Are Medico-Legal Reports?
A medico-legal report is a piece of evidence primarily used to establish causation in the likes of a personal injury claim. This means that the report will consider whether the injuries sustained by the claimant were consistent with the circumstances of the accident.
In addition to establishing this key point in a case, a medico-legal report can also be used to help solicitors value the injuries sustained.
As we’ll see below, it’s important to understand how severe the injuries are, how long it will take to recover from them, and whether or not their effects will be permanent. All of this information can be provided by an expert in a medical report.
Different Types Of Medico-Legal Reports
It’s possible to obtain a medico-legal report for a range of different types of injuries and conditions. For example:
- A psychologist medico-legal report in a case involving the likes of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- A burns and plastic surgery report for a claimant who’s suffered scalds to their body
- An orthopaedic medico-legal report for someone who’s suffered a broken or fractured bone, for instance, or perhaps for someone who’s ruptured their knee ligaments
- A GP medico-legal report for somebody who has suffered minor soft tissue injuries, for example.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and if you’re looking for an expert in another field, we can help connect you to them.
The Process Of Medico-Legal Report Writing
The process of instructing medical experts for the purposes of compiling medico-legal reports is relatively simple and straightforward.
Oftentimes, the biggest challenge is finding a suitably qualified expert that is within a reasonable distance to the claimant’s home. If you’re looking for a medico-legal expert for one of your clients, you may have encountered this exact problem.
Even if you do find an expert after a search on the likes of Google, you may find that they no longer do medico-legal work or may have even retired—pages and profiles on directories don’t always get updated.
So in this situation, an option you have is to contact medico-legal companies or agencies, like us. These organisations possess an extensive network of experts. They can make your life a lot easier too, organising the medical assessment between you, your client and the expert at a time that works for all parties.
Medico-legal agencies can also handle the process of obtaining medical records and can facilitate the delivery of those records to the expert.
In terms of paying for the report, most experts will seek immediate payment. However, if working with medico-legal companies, you may find they offer a fee deferment option. This means that the agency will fund the cost of the report in the short-term, for a small fee, with payment made by the solicitor (or you if representing yourself), at the end of the claim.
If there are any issues obtaining medico-legal reports from the expert, an agency can chase them on your behalf.
How Do Doctors and Specialists Become A Medico-Legal Advisor?
Not any doctor or specialist can write a medical report. They need to have undergone specialist legal training so that their reports comply with guidelines like the Civil Procedure Rules. To undertake medico-legal work means you’ll be acting as an expert witness.
It’s also important that any expert undertaking such work is properly trained on the different eventualities that could arise from providing evidence. For instance, if the defendant contests the medical report, they may have to defend their opinion in court.
Defendants can sometimes apply to the court to get their own medical evidence. This may mean that the claimant’s expert will then have to defend their opinion against a second expert, who may hold completely differing views.
It’s therefore important that any expert providing medico-legal reports get the right training before undertaking such work.
Medico-Legal Reports For Medical Negligence Cases
A complex area of law, medical negligence cases can be difficult to prove. They require the claimant to show that a healthcare professional, such as a doctor, nurse or surgeon, failed to uphold the duty of care they owed their patient.
This may have been through a deliberate act, such as a surgical error, or an omission, like failing to prescribe medication or diagnose an injury or illness.
However, proving that a doctor breached their duty of care can be difficult. A legal test, known as the Bolam Test, exists to determine whether a doctor or healthcare professional acted in a manner that deviated away from the accepted standard of care.
To succeed in such an argument, it’s necessary to have the right medico-legal reports to support the case. Finding the medical experts you need to prove a case can be difficult, however, especially if the specialism is niche.
That’s why working with an organisation like SDU Health can benefit you greatly. Using our extensive network of medico-legal experts, we can connect you with experienced and eminent experts specialising in clinical negligence cases.
If you choose to work with us, we can supply you with a number of medical experts to choose from, along with their CVs, so you can see which professional would suit your needs best.
We can help with:
- Screening reports for GPs and all consultant specialisms
- Causation reports
- Breach of duty reports
- Condition and prognosis reports
- The collection of all required medical records, along with pagination to make the medico-legal expert’s job that little bit easier.
If you’d like to find out more, check out our medical negligence reports guide here. Or get in touch today to see how we can help you.
How SDU Health Can Help You
Here at SDU Health, we understand how busy the lives of solicitors are and how time-consuming and challenging it can be to find and instruct the best medico-legal expert for your case.
That’s why we help make the process as simple and painless as possible. From sending us instructions to delivery of the final report, we’ll do all of the legwork so that you can focus on your own workload.
If you’d like to ask us any questions about obtaining medico-legal reports, or if you’d like our help, just get in contact with us today.
This government guide on medico-legal work may also provide some answers to questions you may have.