Many people are not aware of medicolegal services, until they need to use them. Generally a medicolegal service is a service that is offered when there is a case of litigation and expert reports are required. So after a person has suffered an accident or an injury then an insurance company or solicitor may wish to secure a medicolegal service, in order to process the claim. Often the medicolegal service is one that the solicitor or barrister always uses; but this does not automatically mean that it is the best and there are some issues that need to be carefully considered prior to a medicolegal service being appointed.
The Right Approach
Within an increasingly litigious world the focus of litigation can often be perceived to be about recompense, namely compensation. Obviously, compensation is important, but there should be more to any litigation than compensation. In fact there are 3 critical issues that need to be given equal priority. These are namely, compensation, a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. In a sense, the most important of these are actually a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Eliciting compensation without a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment is to a large extent spurious; if a patient remains in pain, then there is little point in securing financial recompense.
A Multi-Disciplinary Approach
Any good medico-legal service will have a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that patients receive the very best when it comes to treatment. Ensuring that patients have access to physiotherapists and different healthcare professionals will result in patients receiving the best treatment according to their needs. For example, a patient who has experienced a work related upper limb disorder will require in depth input from a physiotherapist, not just from consultants etc; this will help to ensure that each individual person receives individual treatment appropriate to their needs and appropriate to their own individual circumstances.
A Caring Approach
A medic-legal service that is of a high standard will also have a keen interest in patient welfare from a holistic point of view. Thus the patient is not seen as someone who is securing compensation but rather seen as someone who has experienced an injury, trauma or accident and needs to secure redress and appropriate treatment. This is a subtle distinction from some solicitors, who perhaps focus too heavily on compensation and what compensation the person is owed. In other words, the person needs to be seen as a person; not as the result of an accident, injury etc. Looking at the person as a whole can then ensure that their needs are met.
So whilst compensation can be seen as a very important part of any medico-legal service, it should not be seen as the overriding critical force. It should therefore be treated as important but with the principles of correct diagnosis and treatment being seen as equally vital to the process.
In short, at London Pain Clinic, we want our patients to have the expert diagnosis that they need, then the appropriate treatment and the compensation they deserve. We do not simply care about compensation; quality of life is as important!