By: Michael Lavinger, Esq., Director at Medilex
Medilex was founded by two physicians and an attorney to be a unique collaboration between the medical and legal worlds. Over the past 27 years, the methods by which attorneys engage medical experts have evolved.
With increased ways to source experts comes an increased risk that the attorney’s choice will be incorrect, insufficient, inefficient, … or even precluded. The likelihood and extent of these possibilities tends to be inversely proportional to the attorney’s experience (i.e., less medical-legally experienced attorneys are more likely to make errors and to make more substantial ones). However, even very experienced attorneys—especially when handling cases novel to them—make case-dispositive mistakes. Ironically, sometimes one needs to know what they don’t know, and know when to ask for help.
Our advice may merely reassure the attorney that they were going in the right direction . . . or it might avoid expert preclusion, make the attorney realize an additional expert is required, or prevent the unnecessary expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars. And that’s why Medilex clients continue to return to us again and again.
I've thought about why Medilex has thrived over the past 27 years and what sets us apart. Here are the five most important reasons.
1) The vast experience gathered over the past 27 years consulting with attorneys on approximately 15,000 cases spanning 170+ medical specialties.
2) Our courtesy, telephone Medical-Legal Triage of each case.
3) The close relationship that we have with our experts.
4) The high-quality of the experts with whom we work.
5) The singular focus on the quality of the work product that comes out of Medilex.
1) Unmatched Experience
Since 1992, I’ve probably seen almost everything in the medical-legal arena. Even if I encounter something new, it’s likely composed of aspects that I’ve seen in other cases. Interestingly, most Medilex clients don’t realize that we have a very diverse caseload. Aside from medical malpractice, Medilex also handles pain and suffering, wrongful death, psychiatric, burn, DUI, criminal (like assaults/murders), STD, toxic exposure, excessive force, child abuse, mold, lead, and other cases.
2) Free Medical-Legal Triage
From the attorney’s perspective, Medical-Legal Triage is likely the most important differentiating factor because it’s the most tangible. There may be no one in the country with my breadth of experience. I know that sounds like a very bold statement, but I have a hard time imagining there’s anyone who’s been exposed to the sheer volume and variety of cases that I have. Such a person would also need the experience gleaned from having worked with experts on each of the cases—and the legal acumen that comes from having gone to law school. I’m also extremely analytical and critical. I also don’t merely accept what’s presented; I tend to question almost everything. I evaluate every case, frequently finding issues that the attorneys have overlooked. I believe that paying a person to bring all of that skill and experience to the table would be prohibitive. Paying multiple people—as would be required for coverage every day, evening, and weekend—would be nearly impossible. Meanwhile, I provide Triage as a free courtesy. To me, it’s the most interesting part of what I do. These daily challenges keep me on my toes. Triage is like continually taking medical-legal final exams every day. Most existing clients know when they call about a new case that I’ll usually begin with “Don’t tell me what you *think* you need. That way, you won’t taint me. Maybe I’ll have a different take on your case—then we can discuss what you’d like to do.” Triage helps
▸ Determine whether to accept a case initially, detect dispositive issues, and prevent
paying for an unnecessary review;
▸ Identify which expert fields are implicated;
▸ Select and combine experts for maximum financial and logistic efficiency;
▸ Formulate solid medical-legal syllogisms and arguments;
▸ Counter (or navigate around) opposing expert opinions; and,
▸ Understand the nuances of the medicine/medical practice, and the bounds of each
3) Close Relationships with the Experts
Medilex works very closely with its experts from the start to the finish of each matter. As a result, we’ve developed very strong relationships with those experts. That simply can’t be duplicated. Years—or decades—of working together builds trust. The experts also know that Medilex is there to assist with whatever they need and whenever they need it. Lastly, Medilex pays its experts promptly. That goes a long way. The end result is an unmatched seamlessness when working with Medilex and its experts.
4) High-Quality Experts
Medilex surrounds itself with extremely well-qualified experts, typically with teaching credentials, and who are chief, or former chief, of their medical school or hospital department. Our experts are carefully selected based on other, proprietary criteria that are important to attorneys and cases.
5) High-Quality Work Product
I believe that an organization that merely ”refers experts” to attorneys is not sufficiently concerned about the quality of the experts’ work product. Our longstanding, close relationships allow Medilex to push for higher-quality work product, particularly written documents. Beyond that, I’m the type that doesn’t want a comma out of place.
All that said, no one and no expert is perfect. Medical doctors are trained to practice medicine, not be experts. Each one is unique and comes with their own combination of experience, skills, and attributes. Given what is possible, Medilex strives for the best possible work product and results. Our aim is to exceed the attorney’s expectations. I like to think we've done a pretty good job so far. We plan to continue to do so in the decades to come.