Members of our staff, particularly Dr. Edelson, have been active in the forensic area for many years. Referrals for independent medical examinations (IME's), record review, and case consultation are made by plaintiffs' and defense attorneys, insurance companies, and case managers in worker's compensation situations. The typical issues to be addressed by the evaluations are the presence or absence of brain damage or emotional trauma, and their causes if damage is found. Recent testimony has focused on comparing multiple evaluations of the same individual and explaining the differing results. We also advise the courts regarding disability determination and competence.
An independent medical evaluation typically involves the determination of severity of illness and whether it affects thinking, emotional functioning, and most importantly, ability to return to work after some type of injury. These referrals most often come from insurance companies or workers compensation case managers.
Record Reviews/ Case Consultations
Attorneys are often confronted with neuropsychological evaluations that are difficult to understand and may conflict with medical or psychiatric examinations. Record reviews are sought in these situations to provide explanation of the results and reasons for the conflicts, or flaws in the evaluation process or the conclusions drawn from them. Suggestions are made regarding whether more testing might be helpful. At times help is requested in developing questions to ask mental health experts during depositions.
Forensic Neuropsychological Evaluation
When legal issues involve the presence of brain or emotional injury, and their causes, forensic examinations are requested. In these situations medical records are reviewed as part of the evaluation. Testing is more lengthy than in a typical clinical/ medical case, and entails symptoms validity (i.e., malingering) tests, cognitive tasks, as well as more measures of emotional distress and explanations of the effects of cognitive and psychological dysfunction on the examinee.
Forensic Psychological Evaluations
At times legal issues involve only emotional damage, without any type of brain impairment, as in PTSD, for example. Psychological testing involves record review, an interview and measures of affective distress, with conclusions based on standardized and normed tests, not just the psychologist’s opinion. Symptom validity tests are used in these instances as well, along with objective and projective tasks.
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