The Use of Forensic Psychiatry in Catastrophic Injury and Multi-Party Litigation

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Catastrophic accidents often lead to claims for severe emotional distress including allegations of post-traumatic stress disorder (‘‘PTSD’’). Similarly, allegations of acute neuropsychological disorders and fear of cancer can follow environmental releases and toxic exposures. So, too, with product liability claims and even claims from entire ‘‘classes’’ of individual employees. A single incident or condition may produce thousands of claims.

The many challenges to defending these claims include limited access to plaintiffs, privacy issues, and treating physicians who often advocate for their patients, relying almost exclusively on their patients’ subjective reports of their experiences and symptoms, rather than on objectively verifiable data.

Originally published in Expert Evidence Report on December 12, 2013.

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