“But I’m not an ‘expert!’”
This is an oft-heard reply from the family physician when asked by his or her patient’s lawyer to prepare a medical-legal report. It is also not true.
Each of you is recognized by the College of Physicians as a Specialist in Family Medicine. This qualifies you as an “expert” which in law permits you to provide “opinion” evidence in Court. You are not a “lay witness” to whom very strict rules apply regarding testimony (eg. cannot provide any opinions in his or her evidence, but may only testify as to observations based on what he or she has seen, heard, or done).
Preparing and completing a medical legal report at your patient’s lawyer’s request is an excellent method of fully acquainting yourself with your patient’s pre-accident and post-accident status. You will in all probability be asked to provide the following:
- a history of your patient’s history with you as his or her primary healthcare provider up to the date of the motor vehicle accident;
- a history of your patient’s attendance with you in the short-term following the accident;
- your patient’s course of care in the months and years (yes, years!) following the accident;
- a current diagnosis of your patient’s status(which may include non-accident conditions);
- a comparative analysis of your patient’s pre-accident and post-accident status in terms of functionality; and,
- a prognosis for your patient’s further recovery and recommendations for further intervention, if required to either bring about maximal medical recovery or, if already achieved, to provide palliation to your client to assist in elevating function.
While there are no guarantees, preparing an expert report on behalf of your patient often enhance the prospects of an out-of-Court settlement. Regardless, you are entitled to be properly compensated for the completion of this medical legal report based on OMA and/or HAM fee guidelines.