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What exactly is a Medico-Legal Assessment? And why is it so important…

A medico-legal assessment is a rigorous process which helps to determine whether a person is fit to work, drive or continue with normal daily activities. The assessment is normally requested by a lawyer following a personal injury claim or medical condition.

In the South African landscape, there is an increasing number of cases that require the need for professional help from experts who can provide accurate assessments, based on scientific evidence and reliable data collected through rigorous processes that ensure objectivity, precision and neutrality.

This is exactly where a medico-legal assessment (AKA report) becomes valuable.

A medico-legal assessment is typically written reports by Occupational Therapists, Psychologists and Psychiatrists, which are then used in court documents to help assess a person’s mental state and injuries, because of an accident.

An Occupational Therapist medico legal assessment will look at the claimant holistically, taking into consideration every aspect of their lives and will provide recommendations for treatment and future wellbeing, with a detailed cost estimation for the recommendations provided.

The good news is, there are Medico-Legal Hubs around the country, like Smart Expert that facilitate these assessments. Medical Experts are at the same facility which ensures that there is not delay in between assessments. Claimants are not inconvenienced by taking off several days at work or away from home. And not to mention Attorneys will get their medical expert reports quicker.

A medico-legal assessment will determine?

  • If the claimant is fit to work and drive.
  • The impact of the injury (especially taking into consideration return to work).
  • The likelihood that pre-existing medical conditions played a role in contributing to the event in question.

The report includes information about the claimant’s mental health and injuries, aimed to assist a judge to understand the claimant’s impairment and prospects.

Medico-Legal Hubs provide a space where all your appointed experts can assess claimants in a day or two, which facilitates quicker deliveries of reports to finalise a settlement.

Smart Expert has proved over the past year that by assessing claimants over a day or two, accelerates the delivery of reports, receiving all reports within 6-12 weeks, allowing personal injury settlements to be handled quickly. This means that you can save up to 1.5 years in settlement claims, simply by working with a hub.

When writing a report for a case file the following should be included:

  • A full evaluation of the claimant history
  • Physical examinations (CT scans, X-rays or MRI scans)
    • Demographics (age, gender)
    • Mental health history
    • Criminal convictions
    • Civil actions
  • An in-depth examination of information provided and background checks (where applicable)
  • A thorough interview and assessment of the claimant, regarding their symptoms and injuries:
  • The injuries effects on performing daily activities e.g. Home management
    • The effects the injury has had on physical abilities and return to work possibilities
    • Recommendations around assistive devices
    • Treatment required following the injury (both physical, mental & emotional)
    • Provide a cost estimation for what the above-mentioned treatment will be

If a child has been injured, the report also includes the effects the injury has had on physical abilities, academic and scholastic performance, and prospects regarding future work opportunities. For example, a child, injured in a car accident, my become wheelchair bound, affecting their ability to complete their educational curriculum, impact their future job prospects and line of study.

As a claimant, you are entitled to a copy of your assessment report. You can either get it from the legal parties by launching legal processes or ask the relevant parties yourself.

Rehabilitation reports often mention what types of treatment are available, which can help you make more informed decisions about future treatment needs and what is covered by the party for whom you are claiming payment. Which can be hugely beneficial to the claimant.

More on Smart Expert

Smart Expert is a Medico-Legal Hub where multiple experts can assess RAF Claimants or insurance claimants in a centralised workspace over a day or two — specifically designed for mobile experts to rent equipped office space for the duration they require. For attorneys who use our Medico-Legal Hubs, it has also proved significant saving of time, money, and hassle – putting flexibility in the palm of their hands.

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