April 2018 – General Advice


Where Does Medicolegal Experience Come From?


The answer is pretty obvious.  From all sorts of places, really.


From the medical perspective, competence is directly proportional to experience.  That is not to say that the two equal each other but as medicolegal reporters age and gain experience, so do they refine their process and diminish or even eliminate obvious errors, commissions or omissions.  There is an adage that “Good medicolegal reporting comes from experience, experience comes from bad medicolegal reporting”.  It would be a very unusual medical practitioner who engages in medicolegal reporting who has not make a few mistakes.  It should be hoped that the reporter has learnt.


From the legal perspective, experience is also important.  Whilst the legal aspects of managing a claim are well outside the medicolegal reporter’s domain, so is a precise understanding of anatomy, physiology and pathology quite difficult for many lawyers.  Whilst I am surprised at just how much medicine some of my senior legal colleagues know and understand, there will always be some voids and deficits.  There is a number of relatively easily digested texts that deal with medicolegal issues and which explain some of the nuances of injury, impairment and disability.  Another useful port of call is to telephone your friendly medicolegal consultant.  This type of dialogue assists both sides.  There is no property in a witness.  There is no reason why these frank discussions cannot occur.  Provided the rules of evidence are obeyed, considerable mutual assistance can be gleaned.