Memorable CLNC® Cases

My First Attorney-Client Gave Me the Confidence to Feel Anything Is Possible

by Jorie Akins, RN, BSN, TNCC, ECRN, CLNC

Jorie Akins - Certified Legal Nurse Consultant

My most Memorable CLNC® case was one of my first cases. Although the case isn’t worthy of historical significance, it was the confidence builder I needed as a new Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.

When the attorney-client handed me a box of medical records my first thought was “What in the world did I get myself into now?” I took a deep breath and remembered Vickie taught us “We Are Nurses and We Can Do Anything!®” I told myself “This is a just a chart; I know how to read charts.” Then the legal nurse brain kicked in and I remembered everything I had been taught in the CLNC Certification Program.

I’ve experienced firsthand how much appreciation attorneys have when you consult on their cases. Once you experience this type of professional gratitude and you charge a fee that matches your years of experience and knowledge, you begin to feel anything is possible.

I began by zeroing in on the date of the incident, then I reviewed the consulting notes and skimmed through the rest. Now that I had the gist of the case, I continued to let the story unfold. I found the strengths and weaknesses, researched the important topics and wrote the report. I met face-to-face with the attorney to discuss my opinions and he was pleased to have a new, insightful perspective on the case.

Fortunately for me this first case was uncomplicated and straightforward. Simply put, this case involved a plaintiff who was rear-ended by an SUV in a motor vehicle accident (MVA). The plaintiff experienced three years of pain and suffering, encountered multiple doctor visits, underwent surgery and had extensive physical therapy. There was also lost wages and diminished use of the dominant hand which represented potential loss of future earnings. I was able to demonstrate there were no prior pre-existing medical conditions and that all injuries sustained were a direct result of the MVA. My attorney-client used my work product to link the damages with causation and was able to get double the original settlement demand.

I have consulted on five legal nurse consultant jobs for this attorney-client since and he always has positive things to say about my work product. He even offered (without me asking) to write a letter of recommendation for future attorney-clients:

“Let me take the opportunity to highly recommend Ms. Akins, RN, CLNC for medical evaluations and reviews of pending and potential claims. Ms. Akins has performed several case reviews on my behalf. The results have been nothing less than dramatic. She has pinpointed issues, lines of potential investigation and testimony with incredible skill and professionalism. As a result of Ms. Akins services, I’ve been able to maximize recovery on each case she has worked on. Her reviews and observations have provided me with necessary ammunition to both refute negative opinions and enhance client credibility. The results have repaid the costs many times over. Should you have any hesitation in retaining Ms. Akins, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to share my opinion.”

The action steps I took while consulting for this attorney-client gave me the opportunity to get my feet wet and gain hands-on CLNC experience. This in turn led to even more cases, helping me to continue to build my confidence. As a result, I stepped up my game another notch when I was contacted by a Chicago-based attorney regarding an emergency department case. I had the confidence to speak to the CLNC services that would provide value to his legal nurse consultant job.

I’ve experienced firsthand how much appreciation attorneys have when you consult on their cases. Once you experience this type of professional gratitude and you charge a fee that matches your years of experience and knowledge, you begin to feel anything is possible.

Small action steps matter. They provide momentum. Momentum creates movement. Movement leads to progress. Progress leads to CLNC success. Then you repeat the process again the next day, the next week and so forth. This has been the most rewarding lesson of all.

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