Medical-legal consulting is a great way to use your medical training in a non-clinical field that helps people. I started this field 14 years ago and have trained over 1,600 physicians to be medical-legal consultants. Most physicians do medical-legal consulting as a part-time side gig. All of the work is pre-litigation and pre-trial. I don’t act as a medical expert, and I don’t participate in medical malpractice cases.
There are over a dozen services and types of consultations I offer attorneys. One service we frequently provide is to give our opinions regarding specific medical questions that arise in cases. Usually, these reports help the attorney to prove a particular medical theory for the case.
I recently had a case of a 41-year-old woman whose vehicle was hit head-on in an auto crash. The client hit her forehead on the steering wheel before the airbag was deployed. The client continues to experience severe frontal headaches two or three times per week. She describes severe sharp pain starting in her forehead and radiating to her temples bilaterally.
On a pain rating scale with 0 being no pain and 10 being severe enough to lose consciousness, the client states these headaches rate 7/10.
Along with pain, she also describes photophobia and nausea associated with the headaches. The client reports that because of the severity and frequency of these headaches, her ability to carry on with everyday living has been significantly disrupted. She reports difficulty maintaining her work schedule and other kinds of normal life activities such as household chores, relationships, friendships, recreational activities, etc.
Her medical records noted that the client had a documented history of migraine headaches that accompany her menstrual period. The client states these headaches started in her twenties and have always correlated with the onset of her period. She describes these headaches as lasting two to three hours and rates the pain as 1/10.
The client gets two to three of these headaches a year. She describes these headaches as being diffuse headache pain without associated symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or photophobia and reports these headaches as “mild.”
Opposing counsel claimed the client had a pre-existing condition and that her current headaches should not be included as damage in the case. The attorney asked the question if the current headache problem was accident-related or a pre-existing condition. It was my opinion the headaches were a direct result of the auto crash. Ultimately, the settlement included the headaches as medical damage in the case, in part supported by my report.
Armin Feldman is a medical consultant to attorneys.
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