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Psychological Tests are as Valid as Standard Medical Tests

I have already mentioned the importance of psychological tests as major resources in assessing intellectual, cognitive, and psychological states. Clinical and forensic psychologists are the only professionals trained to administer, score, and interpret these tests. The standard of care is to use a battery…

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…

If You Practice Family Law…

As family practitioners are aware, divorce cases trigger extreme emotional responses. These emotional responses are exacerbated when one of the parties has a moderate to severe personality disorder. In such cases an otherwise “simple” divorce is turned into a difficult and long affair that may draw out over several…

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…