Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Psychologists v. Psychiatrists

Who Best to Hire as an Expert?

Psychologists have either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. degree in psychology.  A Ph.D. is a research oriented degree whereas a Psy.D. is a treatment oriented degree.  Psychiatrists have M.D. degrees.  Psychiatrists are trained and more knowledgeable about psychotropic medication and treatment, which are rarely concerns in litigation.  Psychologists are trained and more knowledgeable about psychological testing than psychiatrists. 

In most psych medical-legal reports the basic question is, “Has the claimant suffered a psychological injury?”  The answer hinges on the doctor’s diagnosis.  Both psychologists and psychiatrists use five sources of information to arrive at a diagnosis, the three most important of which are:  the patient’s life history and their presenting complaints, the doctor’s Mental Status Examination results and the objective psychological testing data.  Of the three only the psychological testing provides objective information about a diagnosis and patient credibility that can be presented to the court.  

Given the above, “Who do you think can write a more credible and comprehensive medical-legal report?”  “Who will provide better testimony?” 

Finally, consider this.  I’ve read at least 30,000 psych reports over the last 30 years and cannot recall ever reading a single one in which a psychologist found it necessary to hire a psychiatrist to help with the examination.  In contrast, I frequently see reports written by psychiatrists who hire psychologists to interpret the testing.  "What does this tell you?"  “Who do you want on your side?”

More help for cross-examining psych doctors can be found at Dr. Leckart’s website (www.drleckartwetc.com) and in his book Psychological Evaluations In Litigation:  A Practical Guide for Attorneys and Insurance Adjusters (http://drleckartwetc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/FINAL-051311.pdf).

Thursday, February 18, 2016

California Exclusive

   For some seven years I have been writing a newsletter that for the most part was dedicated to discussing psychological issues in the medical-legal area involving worker's compensation and personal injury litigation. Initially, the distribution of the newsletter was to attorneys and insurance adjusters with whom I had some professional connections with in California.

   As time has progressed, I am happy to say that my newsletter has been picked up by a variety of people in many different areas throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. Many of these readers were initially sent the newsletter by people in California and some connected through my website, where all of the previous newsletters are available. (www.drleckartwetc.com)

[To read more click here or to read all previous newsletters visit the website at www.drleckartwetc.com]

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cross-Examining Psych Doctors – Tip #8

Cross Examining Psych Doctors - Tip #8-Revealing Patient Honesty

There are literally thousands of psychological tests.  However, only a very few of them have validity scales for determining if the patient answered the questions in an honest and forthright manner.  When reading the psychological testing section of a psych report be sure to determine what those tests reveal about the patient's credibility during the doctor's examination.  If the tests indicate that the patient wasn't truthful, how did the doctor explain those data? 

More help for cross-examining psych doctors can be found at Dr. Leckart’s website (www.drleckartwetc.com) and in his book Psychological Evaluations in Litigation:  A Practical Guide for Attorneys and Insurance Adjusters (http://drleckartwetc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/FINAL-051311.pdf).

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Helping Cross-Examine Psych Doctors

After 30 years of medical-legal reporting I developed a system for cross-examining psych doctors that exposes the flaws in their reports.  When I write that information in a work product privileged report to help an attorney CX
a doctor I call that document an Apricot™.  You can also write your own!
Check out the self-help resources for writing  Apricots™ at my website (www.DrLeckartWETC.com).

Free Cx help can also be obtained from downloading a copy of my book Psychological Evaluations in Litigation: A Practical Guide for Attorney and Insurance Adjusters (http://drleckartwetc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/FINAL-051311.pdf).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Measuring Patient Credibility in Psych Legal Evaluations

Since the patient provides most of the data used to draw conclusions about their psychological status, the first responsibility of any medical-legal evaluator in a psych case is assessing the patient’s credibility. But how does a doctor tell if a patient is being honest and straightforward?

If you’re an attorney, insurance adjuster or another mental health professional what do you look for in the doctor’s report to see if the patient was telling the truth and if the doctor established their credibility?

There are four different places in the report to look for data demonstrating the patient’s credibility: the Mental Status Examination, the patient’s life history and presenting complaints, the psychological testing data and the patient’s medical records.

Click here to read more from Dr. Leckart.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cross-Examining Psych Doctors - Tip # 6

Under cross-examination, psych doctors sometimes answer questions with technical jargon or are non-responsive in other ways.  Sometimes that behavior is deliberate and sometimes it is just how the doctors think and express themselves.  Regardless, when that occurs you may not have the foggiest idea of what the doctor is talking about.  One simple solution is to be persistent!  When the doctor is indirect or obscure just go back to your same simple question and repeat it until you get your clear simple answer.

More help for cross-examining psych doctors and preparing briefs for the court can be found at (www.drleckartwetc.com) and in my book Psychological Evaluations in Litigation: A Practical Guide For Attorneys and Insurance Adjusters (http://drleckartwetc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/FINAL-051311.pdf)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Free Reference Book

Dr. Leckart's Psychological Evaluations In Litigation: A Guide For Attorneys and Insurance Adjusters
If you are going to take a psych doctor’s deposition or trial testimony you should make yourself as familiar as possible with the nature of psychological evaluations.  Here is a free copy of my book, Psychological Evaluations in Litigation:  A Guide for Attorneys and Insurance Adjusters.  I suggest that you download and save it for the next time you are planning a Cx.

More tips and free tools for help in cross-examining psych doctors and preparing briefs for the court can be found at Dr. Leckart’s website: www.drleckartwetc.com