Types of Assessment in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Cases
Personal injury needs to look beyond the immediate physical harm to the often chronic and debilitating psychological harm that can affect mental health, employment, relationships and parenting. The quality of psychological evidence relies on the objectivity of the expert drawing on multiple sources of information such as self-report, robust psychometric tests and medical records. Our expert psychologists have a wealth of expertise to locate the source of the presenting symptoms and make clear judgements about liability, treatment and prognosis.
Our team of Clinical Neuropsychologists have a range of clinical specialisms that can enable them to differentiate between, for example, the neurological impact of brain injury and degenerative conditions such as dementia. Psychologists with the Qualification in Clinical Neuropsychology (QICN) are trained to the highest level in the field to make clear assessments of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its consequences, such as coma. Clinical Neuropsychologists can also make subtle yet important differential diagnosis with other neurological conditions.
Trauma and PTSD
Psychological trauma is the overwhelming experience of extreme events that exceed a person’s ability to cope and integrate these experiences effectively. The skill in assessing trauma, is to find the key to change. This key can be found in people’s unprocessed memories, dysfunctional thoughts or even in their social networks. Trauma is one of the most common effects of injury, with the impacts of the event often leading to further issues including potential employment and relationship difficulties.
Screening and assessing for trauma, especially with regard to ascertaining the extent to which trauma affects healthy functioning, are essential in determining the overall social and emotional health of the individual. A psychologist will take the individual’s history into account to ensure a holistic, trauma-informed approach. Some presenting symptoms that a psychologist will be looking for when Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is likely are: re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive recollections of the incident including nightmares or flashbacks; emotional numbness and avoidance of related stimuli; and significant impact on affect, including increased arousal, difficulty sleeping and concentrating and a tendency to become irritated or angered.
Employment and Return to Work
Psychology Experts are able to offer comprehensive reports on employment problems including stress related disorders, discrimination or sexual harassment, and work related accidents. We are also able to offer return to work interventions where appropriate, to help employees back to work as quickly as possible. The expert will report on the client’s current psychological state as well as making predictions about their ability to cope with work expectations in the future, basing these predictions on the individual’s capacity for coping and adjusting, the impact or interaction of any psychological diagnoses and the potential effectiveness of any treatment. The expert will make a professional judgement on whether the individual has effective coping mechanisms in place to deal with the physical and psychological pressures of their work, as well as whether they will be able to carry out their work to the standard expected.
Therapy and Rehabilitation
Chartered Psychologists are trained in diverse interventions for trauma, adjustment disorder, stress, and associated diagnoses. Our experts offer both short-term evidence-based interventions such as EMDR, trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT), as well as longer-term interventions. Psychologists are also trained to evaluate the outcome of their intervention, providing clear outcome and prognosis reports at the end of each intervention.
It is also important for the expert to consider detrimental factors of psychological harm relating to home life, recreational and social situations which can accumulate, leading to more complex problems. Traumatic brain injury can cause long-term problems which can include physical symptoms (headaches, dizziness) and problems with cognition (memory impairment, concentration and problem solving). The risk of suicide in those with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is elevated due to consequences such as these, with research suggesting suicide is twice as likely in those with brain injury than those without. Rehabilitation and emotional support are vital, as well as evaluating the enduring effects of the incident that relate to the claim.