A Legal Nurse Consultant makes a good FACT WITNESS in personal injury and criminal defense cases in order to prepare the jurors for the expert medical witness testimony.
A FACT WITNESS is a person with knowledge about what happened in a
particular case who testifies in the case about what happened or what
the facts are. A Legal Nurse Consultant understands how to read,
interpret, summarize, and simplify the defendant's medical records for
lay people. Accordingly, they are excellent lay witnesses to use after they
have reviewed the defendant's medical records since they can explain in
simple terms the nature of the defendant's health to a jury.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of being a featured speaker at the National Nurses in Business Association reunion held at Rose Clifford, RN's, Medical Analysis Resources, Inc., educational facility. I spoke on the topic of using a Legal Nurse Consultant in personal injury and criminal defense trials. I was asked why I used Legal Nurse Consultants as FACT WITNESSES at trial. I explained that in my trials in Kentucky, I learned that not all jurors are created equal: they all come from different educational backgrounds. As such, I stated that it was best to present the medical evidence in a form clearly understandable by the judge, the witnesses, the jurors, and the spectators. I do this by using Legal Nurse Consultants to summarize the medical evidence from the medical records and bills before the trial, and then have them present their summary as FACT WITNESSES to the judge and jury.
For example, in a DUI arrest, on occasion a police officer will mistake a person with health problems for an intoxicated person and arrest them for DUI. The health issues may include people with neurological, eye, nervous, inner ear, spinal, leg, knee, foot, and ankle problems. These problems may result in a sober (i.e.: innocent) person being unable to complete the standard field sobriety tests as requested by the officer and subsequently being arrested for DUI. A Legal Nurse Consultant as a FACT WITNESS would be able to testify at trial as to the defendant's medical condition, therefore simplifying the medical evidence for the judge and jury.
Note though, that a Legal Nurse Consultant testifying as a FACT WITNESS, will not be able to render an opinion as an expert witness, unless first qualified as an expert.