One topic that inevitably comes up whenever medicolegal experts congregate is payment. In fact, surveys show that most experts are concerned about payment to some extent. Concerns range from not receiving timely payment, to payment of fees being made conditional on a specific outcome of the final report, something that is specifically not allowed under the Civil Procedure Rules. This article will provide some ideas for safeguards you can implement for your practice to ensure that you get paid for the services rendered and that payments are delivered in a timely manner.
The results of the 2019 Bond Solon Annual Expert Witness Survey indicate that issues regarding payment continue to be top of mind for medicolegal experts. For example, 73% of the experts surveyed indicated that they would not continue working in legal aid cases if expert witness fees were further reduced. Moreover, at least one respondent referenced a legal agency withholding payment in exchange for altering a report.
The 2019 surveys for experts and lawyers, conducted by Inspire MediLaw, provide and even clearer illustration of the concerns and worries experts experience in relation to collecting payment. Of those surveyed, 63% reported having to chase payment at some point. In some cases, lawyers ceased communications to avoid paying, in others, experts were met with attempts to re-negotiate the fees after the work had been completed or lawyers attempted to add on services at no additional cost.
While there is no foolproof way to guarantee timely payment for every case, there are strategies that a medicolegal expert can follow to make the process less stressful. Below are some approaches I have found helpful in my own practice:
If you have a question that you need assistance with, please consider contacting me for a free conversation about all aspects of running a medico-legal business.