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  Q: Why is a neuropsychologist needed in court?


  A:  Attorneys may find it useful to consider consultation with an expert forensic neuropsychologist when beginning to put together their     thoughts on cases involving personal injury claims. Neuropsychologists are uniquely equipped to provide the court with important 

  information about the claimant’s brain functioning, utilizing unique interview and testing methods. Neuropsychologists also take into         consideration any psychological factors that may contribute to the claimant’s picture.


  The expert forensic neuropsychologist can:


  • Assist the attorney with the preparation of questions for experts at deposition and trial


  • Provide second opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of previously retained experts opinions


  • Demystify neuropsychology and provide the scientific knowledge needed by the jury to form an opinion


  • Provide brain injury testimony that jurors can understand


  • Provide the attorney with understandable information and scientifically based, objective opinions about the role that brain injury plays in this specific case, including whether acquired brain damage is present


  • Target erroneous or overlooked findings by other practitioners. Expert review of previous brain injury evaluations by other practitioners can help target erroneous findings.  Expert review of all medical notes can elicit important information about cause of problems and prognosis that might have been overlooked



  Q:  What can an expert forensic neuropsychologist do in a case in the legal system where the question of traumatic brain injury is raised?


  A:  Neuropsychological evaluations can:


  • Detect mild changes in brain functioning that may not be visible on brain imaging


  • Answer whether the pattern of test findings is consistent with known effects of particular neurologic injury


  • Lend support for cognitive impairment that is caused by non accident related or pre-existing conditions


  • Document the extent and types of cognitive impairment, estimating whether there has been a decline from pre-injury baseline


  • Predict lasting effects of injuries


  • Prescribe treatment for ongoing conditions


  • Identify inappropriate treatment and possibly iatrogenic effects of inappropriate treatment


  • Identify how severe any injury effects are and what areas of skill are preserved


  • Provide support for exaggeration of symptoms or malingering (both psychological and in terms of claims of changed brain functioning)


  • Criminal cases: Determine the defendant’s legal sanity or mens rea


  • Criminal cases: Determine the impact of brain injury on the defendant’s actions



  Q: What does a neuropsychological evaluation consist of and how long does it take?


  A standard clinical interview including: psychosocial history; educational history; vocational history; medical history; drug & alcohol         history; legal history, military history; account of concerns at issue and subsequent symptoms and treatment; and current complaints.


  Neuropsychological testing including assessment of : intelligence; attention; concentration; memory; language skills; motor skills;             executive and problem solving skills; symptom validity testing; and personality testing


  Three to four hours of interview and five to six hours of testing


  Q: What does a psychological examination consist of and how long does it take?


  A standard clinical interview, as described above.


  More extensive personality testing using tests such as: MMPI-2; PAI; and Rorschach


  Three to four hours of interview and three to four hours of testing.



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