Medico legal work
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Click here to search for Speech Therapists in your area with
Medico-legal as a specialty.

Speech and language therapists with a specialty in medico-legal work may cover the following situations:

  • SENDIST (special educational needs and disability tribunal) - cases where a child's education is affected by a communication problem and extra specialist assistance is being sought.
  • Medical negligence (such as birth injury affecting a child's development), or trauma (such as a road traffic accident resulting in head injury and communication problems) - cases where the aim is to determine costs for therapy when seeking compensation.
  • Occasionally an assessment is necessary to assess whether or not a problem exists.

Recognised characteristics of medico-legal work:

  • Review of medical notes and other important documents.
  • Assessment and diagnosis of the client's speech and language skills (and possibly other areas in some instances such as swallowing difficulties) to determine whether a problem exists and, if it does, how severe it is.
  • Writing a detailed report of findings, diagnosis, prognosis and recommendations for further therapy. In SENDIST cases there is a need for very specific recommendations quantifying the amount of ongoing therapy considered necessary.
  • Appearance at Tribunal/Court as an expert witness if applicable.

Speech and language therapists may be involved with other professionals when they are doing medico-legal work depending on the situation. These may include a psychologist, medical staff, an occupational therapist, education staff, a solicitor, etc. It is likely that an initial assessment will be arranged, followed by submission of a report. Further therapy input may need to be sourced separately.

Some points you may wish to discuss with any therapist you contact:

  • The therapist's specialist credentials in the area of medico-legal work. The therapist may be a member of a Specific Interest Group for medico-legal issues and/or may have attended a training course in writing expert witness reports and giving evidence at SENDIST/Court.
  • As a detailed communication assessment must be made, the therapist needs a background of experience with the relevant population (i.e. adults or children), and with any specific conditions in the case (e.g. autism in children, dysphasia in adults).
  • The timescale for when the report is needed and the reports/information the therapist will need prior to the assessment; how liaison with other professionals (e.g. a solicitor if one is involved) can be maintained; who else can provide qualitative information about how the client functions in everyday communication situations.
  • How much experience the therapist has with similar medico-legal work.
  • Where the therapist will see the client for assessment. Sometimes the therapist will wish to see the client in more than one situation.
  • How much the therapist charges. The therapist may have a fixed charge for the assessment and subsequent report. However, it may be that the therapist charges an hourly rate and guidance on average overall charges can be requested. Because each case will be different, it is important to discuss specific details which are relevant, so you are aware what the therapist will provide and what the likely fee will be.

Click here to search for Speech Therapists in your area with Medico-legal as a specialty.

This page updated on Dec 03 2014 04:24 PM