Basics of Civil Personal Injury Law for Psychologists

The section of the civil law codes that focus on personal injury litigation make it possible for psychologists to testify as expert witnesses in both liability issues and psychological damages parts of the cases. We will focus on the structure of and language used in a civil PI case, issues that may arise, and the role of the psychologist as an independent evaluator hired by either plaintiff or defense. Protocols for evaluation and report writing in various civil cases such as gender violence, product liability, and malpractice will be discussed. The importance of drawing the nexus between the injury and the resulting damages, including increase in problems already present will be emphasized.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will:

  1.      Learn at least 3 terms used in Personal Injury cases.
  2.      Be able to create a protocol to evaluate 2 kinds of Personal Injury cases.
  3.      Understand how to find the nexus between injury and damage.
  4.      Identify at least 2 skills for good report-writing for Personal Injury cases. 


Shapiro, D. & Walker, L. (2019). Forensic practice for the mental health clinician. New York: TPI

Walker, L.E., Shapiro, D.L. & Akl, S. (2020). Introduction to forensic psychology: Clinical & Social Perspectives. Second Ed. New York:Springer Nature