A medico-legal assessment is a more general term for a medical professional conducting an assessment and writing a report that can be presented in court. A psycho-legal assessment refers more specifically to a medico-legal assessment and report conducted by a psychologist.
Clients are usually referred by their legal representative. The legal representative emails the request for a psycho-legal assessment to the clinicians providing a summary of the case and commenting on the reason for referral as well as any specific areas requiring psycho-legal evaluation. The clinician will then respond with an estimated quotation for the assessment based on the aim of the assessment.
Once the quotation has been accepted, the legal representative provides the clinician with a letter of appointment and generally pays a 50% deposit (of the estimated quotation) to secure the appointment. Thereafter, the legal representative forwards all collateral documentation related to the case, for instance, hospital records of injuries sustained in an accident and, previous reports compiled by various professionals for medico-legal purposes.
Firstly, a clinical interview is conducted with the client and possibly a relative, colleague or another person close to the client, who could provide a collateral picture of the client. This may take between one and two hours.
This is followed by a second session where hypotheses formulated during the clinical interviews are explored by means of psychometric assessment. This may take between three and five hours, depending on the nature and complexity of the matter investigated.
Finally, another interview is conducted with the client to explore any anomalies which may have arisen during the psychometric assessment.
A psycho-legal report is then compiled. This report will be delivered to the legal representative.
This process may vary slightly between clinicians; however, the principles remain the same
Psycho-legal assessments are charged at hourly rates for the time spent interviewing and assessing the client or collateral sources, reviewing collateral documents and report writing. Court appearances and the travel costs associated with these appearances, which may follow the psycho-legal report, are charged for separately.
The psycho-legal assessment process is a lengthy process which requires intensive input from a clinician. As such, it is of utmost importance that appointments be scheduled with sufficient time for the completion of the process.
No, medical aids only cover therapeutic claims, as such, psycho-legal consultations will not be covered by medical aids. Payment will be made by the legal representative to the clinician.