The Forensic Psychiatry Expert Witness

What skills does a forensic psychiatrist have?  The forensic psychiatrist is a medical doctor with added training as a psychiatrist as well as special training and experience in applying psychiatric knowledge in the legal system.  As the US population ages, psychiatrists are increasingly asked to render opinions regarding an elder person’s mental capacity to make legal decisions. As expert witnesses, forensic psychiatrists testify in a will or trust contest involving claims of lack of capacity.

Psychiatric Times explains:

Forensic psychiatrists have a unique role. They must step outside of the usual parameters of the confidential physician-patient relationship in a variety of ways, providing information about the evaluee to lawyers or courts, maintaining a neutral attitude toward the evaluee interview, investigating the evaluee’s account through other interviews and reports, recording interviews, and referring the evaluee to colleagues for needed treatment to avoid conflict of interest.

Hiring the right forensic psychiatry expert witness is critical in litigation contesting a will or trust involving claims of lack of capacity. The expert must be experienced in independent psychiatric evaluations as well as legal standards comprising mental capacity.



About Karen Olson

Information Professional with twenty years experience in legal, public record, and business research. Fifteen years law firm experience.

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