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What Exactly is “Medico-legal”?

Two of the most highly regulated fields in this country are the legal arena where justice is the central principle, and the medical field where life and limb hang in the balance. These two fields converge in a unique way know as the “medico-legal” field. From there, medico-legal can be further divided into two sectors – medical law and medical jurisprudence. Medical law focuses mostly on the legal implications of practicing medicine while medical jurisprudence is the focus of Expedient Medicolegal Services.

 

Medical Jurisprudence

Medical jurisprudence is the scientific field that applies medical knowledge to legal problems. Cases that fall under this realm of medico-legal practice require independent medical evaluations and expert testimony in order to prove a case. Teams of independent, non-biased doctors are called in to evaluate a patient’s claims, injuries, medical history, and treatment protocols. From there, medical experts provide fact-based reports on the cause and severity of a person’s injuries as well as any short- and long-term effects these injuries may have on their future.

 

Types of Medico-legal Cases

 

While a qualified medical evaluator may be called at any time for any legal case that requires one, the most common times when a medico-legal expert are called are:

 

  1. In worker’s compensation cases when the cause and severity of an injury need to be determined.
  2. In medical cases where level and type of disability need to be determined.
  3. When a criminal or civil case requires an independent medical examination in order to determine negligence.

 

The Medico-legal Process

Once a thorough records review has taken place, a qualified medical evaluator will order any necessary diagnostic testing and perform a physical examination. These reports address any special factors or labor codes that may apply to the case and specifically answer any questions raised by both parties to the case. Their findings will be included in a non-biased, fact-based report that can then be submitted as evidence in a court of law.