Experts are persons with special knowledge, skill, experience, training, and/or education beyond ordinary members of the public. The role of experts will vary from case to case. Sometimes an expert will serve solely as a consultant to the lawyer and remain in the background, without his or her name ever being known to the other side. At other times an expert will be used in the pre-trial stages, perhaps to give an affidavit supporting an element of the case, completing an assessment, exam, report, etc. In other cases, the expert may serve solely as an expert witness at trial. Sometimes an expert will play a combination of these roles.
My expert work is used to determine damages in personal injury cases (for plaintiff or defense), IMEs, or capacity evaluations to determine testamentary capacity. I am regularly asked to complete medical file reviews, disability reviews, diagnosis in disability determination, and peer reviews.
Type of Work Experts And Consultants Perform
Neuropsychologists provide unique information and measure such dynamics as testamentary competence and competence to testify, need for guardianship and can evaluate an individual’s vulnerability to influence and capacity to manage self-care. ...can function as a “behind the scenes” consultant, impartial examiner, fact witness/treating doctor, or expert witness. Experts are sometimes used to locate and recruit other experts who may be necessary to further the case.
Can provide attorney with explanations of neuropsychological terms and principles, examine the data of the opposing expert, offer alternative explanations for the opposing expert’s findings, and assist with questions for cross examination.
Neuropsychological evaluations may be independent or clinical, done in the here and now, retrospective or post-mortem.
Neuropsychological services may be used in probate, civil, administrative, and criminal proceedings.
Roles of neuropsychologist in forensic cases can be as Consultant; Independent (impartial) Examiner; Treating Doctor; or Expert Witness. For example, the expert forensic neuropsychologist can offer a consultative review of opposing expert’s examination and raw data; provide interpretation of data and rebuttal as appropriate; examine the effects of chronic pain, assess PTSD, or Fitness for Duty and readiness to return to work. Dr. Begali also provides postmortem examinations of capacity means she assesses mental status at the time an individual signed or changed a will after death.
Dr. Begali also provides neuropsychological evaluations in Worker’s Compensation claims, disability determination under ADA, and assist the triers of fact and courts determine an individual’s competency to stand trial and capacity to reason and care for one’s self. Sometimes, long term health insurance companies require expert neuropsychological evaluations to qualify psychological and neuropsychological deficits before releasing benefits.
Neuropsychologists rely on ethical codes and standards to conduct evaluations, manage testing data, reach conclusions, set safeguards to the examination process, and establish client and patient relationships.
- Both subjective and objective methods are used to reach conclusions.
- Standardized tests and normative comparisons are used to arrive at diagnostic conclusions and improve accuracy
- Evaluations typically include measurement of consistency, symptom validity, patterns of deficit, degree of deficit, and alternate explanations for findings. Evaluations add to legal representation and case credibility by examining faking, bias, malingering, and credibility of the identified patient (plaintiff or defendant).
- Areas measured by Neuropsychologists in Forensic Examinations
- Behavioral Observation
- Record Review
- Clinical Interviews
- Standardized test administration and measurement of
- Intelligence/General cognitive functioning
- Premorbid or preinjury functioning
- Symptom & Performance Validity
- Basic academic functions
- Motor functions
- Frontal lobe functioning (planning, organizing, reasoning)
- Adaptive Behavior
Doctoral degree with post-doctoral residency or fellowship. Board certification is optimal to serve as a neuropsychological expert but is not required in medicine or psychology.