Our experts have been retained by defense or plaintiff attorneys in over 300 legal actions in which we gave testimony. Included are multi-plaintiff, class action and individual plaintiff suits alleging psychological damage caused by negligence of corporations, governmental agencies, foster care institutions, private and public schools, treatment and residential facilities, hospitals, medical practitioners and individuals. Outstanding situational examples include:
We confer with potential retaining attorneys, and if an agreement is reached, we proceed to examine and assess plaintiffs. Whenever permitted, our examinations are videotaped and extensive. Board Certified child, adolescent psychiatrists or appropriate psychologists perform the evaluations. We take history from collaterals, perform psychological tests, review relevant documents, study and critique the work of opposing experts, create rehabilitative psychiatric life care plans with cost estimates, confer with retaining attorneys, produce written reports of our findings and opinion. Once our reports are ready we confer if requested with economists and vocational experts, then testify at depositions and trials. We may create trial exhibits, with the agreement of the retaining attorneys.
Content of our assessment includes the plaintiff’s developmental and social history, other potentially traumatic experiences, presenting problems and complaints. We take a history of the alleged trauma. Often there are other medical, social service, academic and clinical reports we study and may rely upon. If permitted to videotape, we may transcribe the contents.
In complex or document-heavy matters, our document review usually results in a “Meyerian Chart” or complex timeline of historical, developmental, family, medical, academic, vocational, psychological and legal information.
Our evaluations include diagnoses, usually reached and presented in a DSM IV TR format, in which there are five aspects, including the primary disorder, personality disorders, medical disorders, current or recent stressors, and a global assessment of mental health function score. Among children we make a records and history based retrospective assessment of pre-event global function, per the method used by Shaffer and Gould (Archives of General Psychiatry, 1984).
If requested, we create a set of recommendations to rehabilitate a plaintiff whom we believe was harmed. These are complex multi-modal treatments in most cases, and costs are estimated for a lifetime. Included are estimates of the increased physical medical costs which research supported by the Centers for Disease Control shows are usual psychosomatic consequences of traumatic experiences.
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