Speech and language therapists play a vital role in securing the best possible outcome for legal cases involving adults or children with communication and/or swallowing difficulties.
Expert Court Reports work with leading speech and language pathologists in the field of speech and language therapy (SLT) to draft comprehensive medico-legal and expert witness reports for our clients.
What type of legal cases warrant an SLT expert report?
Any case in which understanding the details of an individual’s SLT condition (e.g. diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment needs) improves the chances of a favourable outcome during legal proceedings or another matter, may justify an expert report. Expert Court Reports are regularly asked to provide expert SLT expert witnesses for the following types of cases:
- Clinical negligence – including injury, surgical error, and missed or delayed diagnosis
- Personal injury claims – including serious workplace injuries and head injuries which lead to speech, language, and swallowing problems
- Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunals
- Education, Health, and Care Plans (EHCP)
SLT expert reports may also be required for criminal, employment, immigration, and family law matters.
What is covered in a speech and language therapy medico-legal report?
SLT medico-legal reports are specially drafted for the individual client. The expert witness will work methodically through a number of stages, including
- Reviewing all of the information provided on the client and the case (i.e. past medical history, clinical notes, and accident reports).
- Assessing whether the individual has a speech, language, or swallowing condition/s, and if so, the extent
- Assessing how the speech, language, and swallowing condition/s may affect the individual’s life
- Assessing whether recovery is possible – including how long this will take and the extent of the likely recovery
- Recommendations for ongoing care, treatment, and education
- Whether any specialist devices are required – e.g. assistive technology including communication aids
- An assessment of quantum (the value of the claim) – in relation to the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity, and the likely cost of any care, treatment, and specialist equipment
The recommendations made in an SLT expert medical report will depend on the purpose of the document. If written to justify additional education support, for example, it may focus on the challenges the individual will face while learning, and how this can be overcome.
If the report is for the purpose of securing compensation due to an accident caused by negligence or criminal injury, then the report will focus more on the rehabilitation and ongoing care needs of the affected person, to ensure that they have the financial resources necessary to make the best possible recovery and to cover their pain, suffering, or loss.
About our speech and language medico-legal expertise
Our SLT medico-legal expert, Sarah Lyons, is a highly experienced Speech and Language Therapist. Sarah has a BSc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy from Birmingham City University (2007-2010) and has worked in her own private practice since 2012. She has particular expertise in special educational needs (SEN), the provision of evidence to SEN tribunals, hearing impairment, and working with children with complex communication needs.
In addition to her many years as an SLT in a range of clinical settings, Sarah is a Committee Member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist’s Professional Policy and Practice Committee (RCSLT), and has received specialist training from Bond Solon on medico-legal and expert witness best practice.
Instructing our services and costs
If you would like to find out more about how our speech and language experts can assist in your legal matter, please call us on 01865 587865, email email@example.com, or request a call by completing our online form. We will arrange a time for you to speak to our SLT expert who will listen to the details of the case and advise the best way forward.
Should you choose to engage our services, our SLT expert will need as much information as possible on the case, including, but not limited to:
- Why the report is needed
- The type of case (e.g. personal injury, criminal injury)
- The facts of the case and particulars of claim
- The current status of the patient
- Witness statements
- Medical notes (primary and hospital – where relevant)
- Any relevant dates and timescales the expert should be aware of (e.g. court dates)
If any other relevant information is available, this should also be provided (e.g. maps, photos, diagrams, correspondence, court orders).
Where necessary and appropriate, we can arrange for our SLT expert to meet with the client to undertake a clinical examination.
The costs of the SLT expert report will be explained in full at the outset, and will be based on the time required needed to undertake the assessment process and draft the report. And if required, our SLT expert witness will attend the court hearing to provide evidence and answer questions as necessary on behalf of the client.
Talk to our experts
Expert Court Reports provides expert witnesses and medico-legal court reports for solicitors, barristers and other agencies including the police, probation services, prisons and third-sector organisations as well as private clients.
To arrange a speech and language therapy expert report, please call us on 01865 587865, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or request a call by completing our online form.