Locating Experts



LNCtips.com: Locating Experts

If you work in a law firm or as an independent LNC, one of your responsibilities may be to obtain expert witnesses for your cases.  Before you look for experts, some questions to ask the attorney include:

What type of expert is required?  If the case involves nursing care, you will most likely want a nurse with expertise in a particular specialty (critical care, OB, OR, etc.), depending on the specifics of the case.   If the case involves allegations against the care provided by a physician, you will want to locate a physician within that specialty. 

Is there a geographic preference?  Some attorneys want to work with local experts or may be limited to expert location by statutes.  Others want someone with national name recognition and don't care where the expert is located. 

Has the attorney worked with an expert in the past that he or she prefers? Many firms and independent LNCs have a database of experts that they have used.  This is the easiest way to locate an expert.

Using your own (or your attorney's) expert database is the easiest way to locate experts. If you don't have access to a database, here are some suggestions for locating experts, including expert legal nurse consultants.

Other LNCs.  Other legal nurse consultants can be a treasure trove of experts.  Of course, you will need to reciprocate if you are asked for expert names in the future. 

AALNC Locator.  The locator  is great for finding RN experts.

Hospital Websites.  If youre looking for a physician in a particular specialty, find a hospital that provides that service and look up the physicians that provide that type of care. Usually there is a short bio that lists the physicians educational background and training. Then call the physicians number and ask the office manager if the physician does expert work.  If not, ask the office manager if he or she knows someone in the field that does expert work. 

If you know an expert in a somewhat related field, ask him/her for a recommendation.  For example, if you need an expert neurosurgeon, ask an expert orthopedist for a recommendation.  Or ask your expert to whom he or she might refer a patient.  For example, if your expert is a pediatrician and you are looking for a pediatric endocrinologist, ask your expert pediatrician which pediatric endocrinologist he/she sends referrals to. 

Conduct a literature search regarding the allegations and note the authors.  Call the authors and ask if they have ever served as expert witnesses. You may have to do some internet legwork to obtain a phone number for the authors as phone numbers are not usually listed in the literature.  Sometimes email addresses are listed in journal articles, so emailing the expert may be an option.

DoctorFinder.  Try the American Medical Associations DoctorFinder.  This site is especially helpful if you're looking for a particular type of physician specialist in a particular state.  It lists the medical school and residency programs of its members.  This information works well if you're looking for an expert with, say, an Ivy League medical school education. Again, do your legwork to obtain phone numbers or email addresses and contact any physicians that meet your criteria to determine if they do expert work. 

If your state board of medicine has a physician profiling system, you can find information on the physicians specialty, medical school and residencies on that system.  Use the same process to obtain phone numbers an email addresses to contact the physicians. 

You can also the HealthGrades website to find experts.  Although this site is geared toward patients, you can tailor a search to match the specialty, education, and other criteria that you are looking for.

...Katy Jones