“One of the things that is so great about doing this work is you have a direct effect on helping injured people, and that’s one of the things that makes it so gratifying: Your ability to use your medical knowledge, your background, your training in a way that is non-clinical but is still really helping people.” -Armin Feldman MD
In today’s episode, Dr. Jen Barna talks with Dr. Armin Feldman to find out all about his medical legal consulting business. Dr. Feldman began consulting on medical cases for attorneys thirteen years ago and has never looked back. He has a thriving consulting business and he also has a very thorough course to train physicians who would like to have their own consulting business, full-time or as a side gig. Tune in to hear the ins and outs of the business and see if it’s something that might be for you!
Go to MDbizcon.com to check out Dr. Feldman’s business or to get in touch with him.
Dr. Feldman practiced psychiatry for over twenty years. For the past thirteen years he has been doing medical consulting in Colorado and he also teaches other physicians all over the country to do this work.
Excerpts from the show:
“I’m joined today by a guest that you’ll find very interesting, especially if you’re a physician who has ever considered taking on a side job or even starting a business outside of your clinical work but you still want to use your medical training. Why don’t we start out by hearing about your specialty and how that led you to start your consulting business?” -Dr. Jen Barna
“So asking me about my specialty is actually kind of an interesting question. I am a trained psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. But when someone asks me about my specialty, what I tell them is, my specialty is forensic medicine. It’s what I’ve been doing for the past 13 years. The kind of forensic medicine I do is something that really wasn’t done before I started doing this 13 years ago. So for a long time, maybe for centuries, we’ve had physicians that act as medical experts in legal cases. What I did about 13 years ago, well even to back up from that, before I started doing this work, my area of specialty in psychiatry wound up being mild traumatic brain injury. I wound up owning outpatient head injury rehabilitation clinics around the country and a treatment program of my own design. I think we did a great job helping head injured individuals get back up on their feet. Well, I was fortunate enough to sell those clinics, and in that work I testified as an expert witness really more times than I want to remember on behalf of my patients who were either being cut off from medical care or offered some pittance of a settlement. So I learned a lot about our legal system, how healthcare is delivered in this corner of medicine, the adversarial nature of the work and so forth. So I was thinking about what I wanted to do next. I thought, well, maybe what I could do is just consult to attorneys on any kind of medical question that came up in a case. That turned out to be a good thing, an unexplored niche, and as they say, the rest is history. And that really has developed now over the years into a new subspecialty of forensic medicine that involves doing the pre-trial, pre-litigation medical consulting to attorneys, but primarily in worker’s compensation cases and personal injury cases, although physicians in any specialty can learn how to do this work.” -Armin Feldman MD
“If I’m hearing you correctly, what you’re doing is different from being an expert witness. How does it differ from being an expert witness?” -Dr. Jen Barna
“You’re correct about that. In fact, I’m a medical consultant in legal cases and there’s a huge difference. In fact, the two totally different things between being a medical expert in legal cases and a medical consultant in legal cases: one is, I consult on any kind of medical question that comes up in a case and the physicians that I’ve trained do this as well. All of our work is pre-trial, pre-litigation. So we are helping attorneys to better negotiate and settle cases. We’re helping attorneys to save time and we’re helping attorneys to get the appropriate medical care for the clients and help them to negotiate through all the medical issues that come up in their cases. Now one of the things that makes this kind of consulting viable and makes it go is that in the areas of the law in which I consult, personal injury and worker’s compensation, probably nine out of every ten cases settle and that’s where we come in. So anything that we can do as medical consultants as opposed to medical experts and very specific services that we offer that is going to help that attorney to better negotiate and settle the case for more money with less attorney time and help them with medical issues in the case including helping them to get appropriate care for their clients. That’s something that a lot of attorneys are interested in. Now not every attorney thinks it’s the next best thing since sliced bread. There certainly has been plenty of demand all over the country for years for these kind of services. Now on that one out of ten case that can’t be negotiated and so the attorney is going to litigate that case, they’re going to do depositions and go to trial. In those cases the attorney is going to need medical experts in every area of the injury. But for the purpose of negotiating and settling the case, what the attorney needs are well reasoned, well-thought-out medical opinions, reports and other services that are going to help them to settle that case.” -Armin Feldman MD
“I’ll give you a quick example. Now of course this never happens to me anymore because attorneys in Colorado know who I am and this falls away for other consultants as well. But when I first started, let’s say I was hired by an attorney to answer a question concerning a rotator cuff injury in the case and then they needed me to prepare a report and that report was eventually going to be used in the settlement process. So I deliver that report with my medical opinions. By the way, my reports are always seen by opposing counsel, they are almost always seen by insurance adjusters, they are often seen by judges, treating doctors, IME doctors and others. So they are hardly behind the scenes. So opposing counsel gets that report. What’s the first thing they’re going to do? Well they’re going to look me up. So they might pick up the phone and say to the attorney that hired me, ‘Well why should I pay any attention to this report? Dr. Feldman is not an expert in rotator cuffs.” And what my attorney is going to say to them is, ‘Well look, Dr. Feldman acts as a medical consultant for me in all my cases and I can tell you if we can’t get this issue settled in the negotiation based on Dr. Feldman’s opinions and how he backs up those opinions with evidence from the medical literature, and you force me to take this case to trial, when I hire my retained orthopedic surgeon, they are going to say exactly what Dr. Feldman said in his report. In fact, they would be relying on the same literature that Dr. Feldman quoted in his report.’” -Armin Feldman MD
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