The Role of a Psychologist or Mental Health Expert in a Personal Injury Case

mental health expertExpert witnesses are those who possess some form of specialized knowledge, training, and/or experience. The party who is introducing the expert witness testimony will normally have to qualify the witness as an expert and name any potential expert witnesses prior to trial.

There are a variety of different types of expert witnesses in a personal injury case, some more common than others. When your injuries have a serious emotional impact on your life, your attorney may retain a mental health expert to bolster your case. 

These specialists can act as a consulting expert or testifying witness just as other medical experts. However, the a mental health expert’s focus would be on how the accident and your injuries have resulted in emotional distress.

Types of Mental Health Experts in a Case

Depending on the complexity of the evidence involved in your injury case, it is possible that your attorney will call upon one or more of these types of mental health experts to assist. 

The most common types include: 

  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Clinical social worker
  • Psychiatric nurse
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • Licensed professional counselor

Psychological injuries can be the hardest to treat. Unlike a broken arm or leg, a psychological injury can take years and sometimes a lifetime to treat successfully. Once a mind has been injured, it may be impossible to return to “normal.” For example, a severe dog bite attack or motor vehicle accident can be traumatizing for a victim and take years to overcome.

Many jurors are naturally distrustful of psychological injuries because they cannot see the injury. Hiring the right mental health expert for your case is crucial to overcome the jury’s sense of doubt.

Of course, it’s reasonable to expect that the defendant’s insurance company will also retain a psychologist or mental health expert to contest your allegations of suffering. It is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney who has extensive experience utilizing experts, whether for consultation or to testify in court.

Contact an Attorney to Secure Your Legal Rights

If you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence in Washington state, contact the attorneys at Seattle-based Davis Law Group, P.S. Our lawyers have access to a wide range of experts in different fields, and we hire these individuals as necessary to prosecute personal injury claims on behalf of our clients. 

Each case is different. To learn about your legal rights as it pertains to your particular situation, contact Davis Law Group today. For a free case evaluation, call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page.

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Chris Davis
Award-winning personal injury attorney and founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, Washington.