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Needless Assessments: What’s A Lawyer To Do?

One of my pet peeves in forensic practice is to read another professional’s report which includes a complex battery of psychological tests most of which are either irrelevant or invalid in reference to the referral question.

I was involved in a case recently in which the expert for the defendant…

Malingering and Self-Reports of Pain

Objective evidence of pain and suffering is difficult to validate. While there are many protocols to assess the type and magnitude of pain, there is no assurance that the results are trustworthy. This is because professionals have much difficulty in assessing malingering. However, we are beginning to obtain some…

Malingering: Is My Client Faking?

Many court cases are decided upon whether the jury regards an injured plaintiff as faking his/her condition. The intentional or conscious fabrication of symptoms or injuries is called malingering. How do you determine whether your client is malingering? This is not a simple matter. There are several tests designed…

Living the Lawsuit: Clients Identify With Their Complaints

One of the more difficult judgments you may have to face in representing your client in a personal injury case is the determination of whether he/she is malingering. As I wrote in a previous column, this is difficult to assess. First, there are no definitive tests available to rule…

False Memories and Forensic Practice: Part Two

In earlier articles, we established that researchers and clinicians place different emphases upon the recollection of childhood abuse. The former tend to investigate false memories with a bias towards increasing of reports; the latter treat trauma with a bias towards the validity of phenomenon. Whereas you must be sensitive…

False Memories and Forensic Practice: Part One

This is the second article considering the American Psychological Association working group on the investigation of childhood abuse. You will recall that in the first article, I described two different camps with respect to the approach to the salience of false memories.

Researchers and clinicians have basically different views in…

Use of an Expert Witness in Mental Health and Disability

There has been a great increase in the use of the expert witness in fields that relate to psychological and mental health matters. These include the traditional areas of competency, custody and visitation, psychological impact of personal injury, and physical and sexual abuse. The arena has now…

Fee Setting and the Expert Witness

Just as each community has its own standard of care so each locale also has its usual and customary fee structure. Even within the State of Florida, insurance companies vary their definitions of usual and customary fees from one area to another. Mental health professionals are not bound by…

Advocacy and the Expert Witness

The proper role for an attorney is to serve as advocate for his/her client. This position is understood and respected by both plaintiff and the defendant representation. However, this concept conflicts with the professional role of a mental health expert witness. His/her responsibility is to investigate and report his/her…

Expert Reports: They May Backfire

When counsel asks an expert to write a written report, it is usually with much ambivalence. On the one hand, the lawyer has to risk the detailing of negative findings regarding his or her case. He or she will be giving to the opposing side the product of all…