Signs of a Good Telepsychiatry Expert Witness

African Medical Doctor Looking At Camera During Conference

Many legal matters depend on the validity and power of their expert’s report and testimony. If you need a psychiatric expert witness, Orbit Health can connect you with a qualified telepsychiatry professional from anywhere around the country. Below, we offer some advice for vetting your possible telepsychiatry expert.


Proper education and training

Any expert qualification starts with the expert’s education and training. Where did they go to college and medical school? Where did they do their residency? Did they pursue a fellowship? What regular training in the field have they obtained since finishing school? A good telepsychiatry expert should be continuing their education every year to stay up-to-date with modern theories and techniques.


Experience in the Specialty

A good expert must be more than educated; they must be experienced in the field. Unless they are testifying about a purely academic matter, they must have sufficient experience in the practice of psychiatry to demonstrate that they are an expert in the field. Additionally, the more specialized their experience, the better for your case. If your case involves issues concerning conditions such as bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or borderline personality disorder, you need an expert who has specific experience diagnosing and treating that exact condition. With telepsychiatry, you can cast a wide net to experts around the country to find one who specializes in the precise issues at bar in your case.


Expert as a Forensic Expert

Even a talented, educated, well-spoken and qualified expert can make rookie mistakes if they do not have experience.  Being an effective expert is a skill that can be improved upon with experience.  While experience is not a prerequisite to qualify as an expert, it is often very helpful.  Experience includes:

  • Experience writing reports: Experts who have experience writing reports have a greater likelihood of writing clearly and effectively.  Also, experienced experts are better able to organize large volumes of information which reduces the chances of missing something or getting confused.
  • Experience sitting for depositions and testifying:  It helps to have some deposition or courtroom experience under your belt in order to testify most effectively and to withstand aggressive and/or misleading cross examinations.


Published works

In addition to experience and education, it is helpful to look to an expert’s publications in peer-reviewed journals.  For better or for worse, judges and juries may assign more credibility to psychiatrists who have numerous articles about salient issues in the case.  Despite the fact that experience in the area is usually considered more important than publications, experts can distinguish themselves and their professional acumen through research and writing.

It is also helpful to assess for any potential contradictions between your expert’s published works and your argument. You do not want to discover in the middle of cross-examination that your expert published an article directly disputing your argument.


Remaining Consistent

It is important to be cautious about retaining experts who have expressed contradictory views on specific issues.  If they contradict themselves in different cases, their opinion loses significant value in the eyes of the factfinder.  This does not mean that an expert witness cannot come to different conclusions depending on the facts of each specific case.  For example, an expert may find a subject to be Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity in one case, but not another.  Also, it is permissible for an expert witness to be retained by plaintiffs’ attorneys in some cases and defendants’ attorneys other cases.  Nevertheless, the basis of the conclusions reached by the expert should reflect a consistent and impartial assessment of the unique facts in each case.


Ability to withstand cross-examination

Any good expert witness needs to be able to handle themselves while on the stand. Even the smartest expert can wither under harsh cross-examination from an aggressive attorney, ruining their credibility with the judge or jury even when they are factually in the right. Make sure to question your prospective expert about their testimonial experience, even to the point of engaging in mock cross-examination exercises to see how they handle themselves. If they are going to take the stand, they need to know how to convince a factfinder, even under pressure.


Contact Orbit Health to Get Connected to a Qualified Expert Witness Today

If you have a pending legal matter that would benefit from advice, opinion or testimony from a qualified psychiatric expert, you do not need to rely on whoever happens to be located nearby. Orbit Health will connect you with a licensed, qualified, and effective forensic psychiatric expert, transmitted to any location that has internet access. Reach out to Orbit Health to discuss your options for telepsychiatry today.

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