Psychiatric injury

Still in the context of determining a civil defendant's responsibility, giving an opinion relating to a claim for psychiatric injury (within either 'nervous shock' or 'personal injury') usually addresses both the cause and the quantum of damage, including by way of addressing prognosis. This raises very similar issues to those dealt with above in relation to negligence more generally. However, although relevant elsewhere, the context of psychiatric injury is a particularly important place to raise the issue of validation of client description of disability. Again, comprehensive review is beyond the scope of the chapter. However, there are techniques which attempt to address validity 'within the interview' (such as the eliciting of 'false-positive answers' to questions about unrelated diagnoses, and recognition of 'relevant negative answers' which suggest honesty through not suggesting a full diagnostic house of symptoms) and techniques which collect objective data 'outside the interview' (from other informants and legal papers), plus use of validated clinical instruments. Again, all these validating techniques are important across all areas of clinico-legal activity.

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