Know your expert

Know your expert
Posted in Blog by Pawel Oltuszyk
25th November 2014

Know your expert

When bringing an injury claim in the UK the Claimant will need to be examined by one or more medical experts. The role of these experts is to produce an impartial report for the Court so that the Court can assess the injuries and as a consequence decide how much compensation to award. Moreover, the medical reports can also work as a building block towards proving other accident related losses such as loss of earnings and care and assistance.

The most common experts used are:-


General Practitioner (GP)

As the name suggests, a General Practitioner or GP as they are commonly called is a doctor who practices all types of medicine. In some countries they are called physicians because they can diagnose illnesses and dispense drugs. With a soft tissue injury case a GP is the most likely type of expert instructed at the outset.


Consultant in Accident & Emergency Medicine

In medical terminology the word “Consultant” denotes a type of doctor who has achieved a senior level of status as a specialised practitioner. A Consultant in Accident & Emergency Medicine is the most senior doctor working in an Accident & Emergency department. They can diagnose and provide an opinion about most types of traumatic injury.


Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

A Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon is a specialist in musculoskeletal problems ie bones and the tissue surrounding them. Since they are surgeons they are addressed not as Dr, but as Mr/Mrs/Miss. Using the title Dr signifies the expert does not undertake surgery. Claimants are likely to be referred to this type of expert if they have suffered from broken bones, or if soft tissue injures only where the recovery period has been unduly long.


Consultant Psychiatrist

A Consultant Psychiatrist is a medically qualified doctor who treats psychiatric and psychological complaints. Quite often after an accident the Claimant can encounter psychiatric problems related to their accident. There is much written about the most intensive of these types of reaction – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This type of expert will identify whether the Claimant is suffering from a recognised psychiatric illness and whether that is caused by the accident.


Consultant Psychologist

A Consultant Psychologist can also diagnose psychiatric illness and psychological problems, but to differentiate from a Consultant Psychiatrist these experts are not medically qualified. They cannot therefore prescribe medication, although commonly they will recommend psychological treatment.


Less commonly used experts are:-


Consultant Neurologist /Consultant Neurosurgeon – these are experts in dealing with the nervous system and are commonly encountered in head injury cases.

Consultant Ophthalmologist – an eye specialist.

Consultant in Maxillofacial Surgery – these experts are dual qualified in medicine and dentistry and are instructed to report on facial trauma and fractures.

Consultant Plastic Surgeon – these are “cosmetic” surgeons ie they improve the aesthetics of a wound or injury. They are commonly instructed when the Claimant is suffering from severe scarring.

Consultant in Respiratory Medicine – An expert in lung complaints

Consultant Cardiologist – an expert in heart complaints

Consultant Paediatrician – an expert in children’s medicine and child development

Consultant Rheumatologist – an expert in arthritis and similar conditions. Quite often this type of expert will be used where the Claimant may have developed a chronic pain condition

Consultant Chest physician – an expert in chest complaints

Consultant General Surgeon – unlike the name suggests, these surgeons specialise in the human torso. They tend to further specialise on a particular organ or area of the body.

Pain Specialist/Anaesthetist – this type of expert can advise upon controlling or minimising pain.

Podiatrist – foot expert


In most cases the starting point will be a consultation with a GP.   In most cases that is the only expert medical evidence required. In cases where the injuries are more severe, the Claimant will be referred to at least one other more specialised expert, and sometimes to several experts. This is all about building up the correct medical evidence to support your claim and as a consequence get the right compensation.