Telepsychiatry for Forensic Evaluations

Orbit Health Brings Qualified Expert Witnesses Directly to Your Conference Room and Courthouse

Many legal matters, both civil and criminal, turn on the opinions offered by expert witnesses. Whether a case involves the damaging effects of personal injury, the reasonableness of a medical professional’s diagnosis and treatment, or the proper operation of a piece of complicated machinery, expert opinions often form the backbone of each party’s arguments to the judge and jury. Experts in the field of forensic psychiatry, in particular, are necessary for a wide variety of legal matters.

Not every jurisdiction has access to every type of expert, however.  Some parties and some matters cannot justify the expense of flying a medical professional thousands of miles to draft an opinion and testify. Moreover, with limitations imposed during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and other natural disasters, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to bring an expert to the locale where a matter is taking place. Thankfully, with the use of telecommunications, you can now bring the expert to your conference meeting or courtroom immediately, efficiently, and with much less cost. Orbit Health connects the best and brightest forensic psychiatric specialists from around the country to litigants in need of expert opinions and testimony, no matter their location, without all the extra expense and complication of travel.

What is Forensic Psychiatry?

Forensic psychiatry is a branch of medicine at the intersection of psychiatry and the law. Forensic psychiatrists are often hired by lawyers and judges to act as expert witnesses for both criminal and civil cases. They conduct psychiatric evaluations and offer opinions about how mental health issues relate to the case. Forensic psychiatrists can also be utilized as consultants to other doctors or administrators of organizations.

Forensic psychiatrists are in short supply, and it is often difficult to find one close by. Geographical distances can cause evaluation delays and involve expensive travel costs. With Orbit Health, the most qualified and experienced forensic psychiatrists can be added to your legal team, no matter your location, and on a much more reasonable budget.

How Can Forensic Telepsychiatry Help Your Case?

In many cases, forensic evaluations and testimony can be accomplished remotely via videoconferencing. Forensic telepsychiatry makes sense, and it saves time and money. Attorneys and judges are increasingly accepting of the concept of forensic telepsychiatry as a convenient and effective way to utilize expert testimony.

Orbit Health can provide teleforensic experts to help sort through the following forensic issues:

  • Competency to Stand Trial. In matters involving criminal defendants or other parties who lack mental capacity, a forensic psychiatrist can evaluate whether the party possesses the mental faculties necessary to stand trial on their own behalf.
  • Insanity Defense/ Criminal responsibility. Crimes of passion often turn on the mental state of the defendant.  A forensic psychiatrist can evaluate whether a defendant possessed the mental capacity to understand the consequences and morality of their actions, or whether they should be subject to a lesser penalty or alternative treatments instead.
  • Civil Commitment/ Involuntary treatment. Forensic psychiatrists evaluate whether individuals could pose a danger to themselves or others in order to inform a court’s decision as to the wisdom and morality of involuntary commitment to a psychiatric institution.
  • A remote telepsychiatrist can perform an evaluation of an elderly or disabled individual and offer an opinion as to their mental capacity.  Such opinions form the basis of whether an adult or elderly person should be placed under the legal care of another.
  • Competency to Make Treatment Decisions. End of life care is complicated at the best of times.  When an injured or ill person appears to lack the ability to make competent decisions about their own health, it is important to have a psychiatrist evaluate their mental faculties and their emotional state.  This can be accomplished remotely via telepsychiatry, wherever the patient is located.
  • Worker’s Compensation and Torts. Injured parties, whether they suffer a physical injury, a psychological injury, or both, require expert evaluation and testimony to prove or disprove their case.  A forensic telepsychiatrist can evaluate the extent of their injuries and the emotional trauma connected thereto.
  • Forensic psychiatrists can provide vital insight and opinion as to whether an injured worker possesses the capacity to return to work or should instead qualify for disability benefits.
  • Violence Risk Assessment. Judges often rely on forensic psychiatrists to evaluate the propensity of a defendant for violent action when deciding upon bail.  With telepsychiatry, your defendant will have access to the most qualified and most neutral evaluation in order to ensure that the principles of justice are not violated.
  • Child custody and visitation. Child psychiatrists can play a vital role in determining the healthiest placement for children of divorce.  With Orbit Health, the best child psychiatrists can be brought in remotely for an unobtrusive evaluation and opinion.
  • Psychic injury. A forensic psychiatrist can remotely evaluate a plaintiff following a traumatic event to establish the extent of their emotional trauma and provide an expert, reasoned opinion as to the severity of their psychic injury, all without the expense of flying a medical professional to your location.
  • Mental disability. Disability is available for mental and emotional disorders as well as physical ailments.  Telepsychiatrists can remotely evaluate applicants regarding whether they are capable of working or should instead receive disability benefits.
  • Malpractice cases often turn on the credibility of each side’s expert:  Was the medical professional’s conduct appropriate, or did they violate standards and norms?  With telepsychiatry, the strength of your expert opinion will not depend solely on which licensed psychiatrists simply happen to be in your region.
  • Juvenile justice. Experts are often employed in cases involving juveniles to establish the mindset and maturity of juvenile defendants and opine on whether they should be tried as adults
  • Other issues: Probate/ Testamentary Capacity/ Undue Influence; Defense Base Act (workman’s comp for military contractors); Sentence Mitigation;  Personal Injury;  PTSD;  TBI (traumatic brain injury); IME (Independent Medical Examinations);  Fitness for Duty;  Sexual Assault; Sexual Harassment; Immigration (Asylum, Trafficking T-Visa, VAWA);  Intoxication/ DUI/ DFSA (Date Rape); Suicide

Here’s how it works:

Identify a small, confidential area in your forensic setting that has internet access, a desk, and a chair. We will place a video screen there and provide psychiatrists via high quality videoconferencing technology. We can use the facility’s existing computers or devices to stream a connection over a web-based telepsychiatry platform. Alternatively, we can provide a portable device that is dedicated to telepsychiatry and is always on. The technologies we use are specifically designed for telehealth encounters and are HIPAA-compliant.

When the subject of the forensic evaluation is ready to be seen, our telepsychiatrist will appear on the screen to conduct an expert evaluation. Forensic evaluations can be recorded if given permission from the subject’s attorney or by direction of the judge presiding over the case. Otherwise, the session will not be recorded. After the session(s), the telepsychiatrist will prepare his/her forensic report.

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.  It does not matter if there are no such experts in your area.  Orbit Health will connect you with a qualified, professional, 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.