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The referral source of a clinical versus forensic evaluation

How is a forensic evaluation different from a clinical evaluation?

Perhaps the best way to explain what a forensic evaluation is and what it entails, is to distinguish it from a clinical evaluation, which is what comes to mind for most people when they think of meeting with a physician or psychologist. There are critical differences between these two types of evaluations, and understanding them can ensure an optimal outcome for litigants who may be navigating the legal system for the first time, and for attorneys who wish to offer the best possible services to their clients.

Forensic evaluation differs from traditional clinical evaluation in a number of significant ways. These include the referral source of the requested evaluation, the purpose or goal of the evaluation, the role of the examiner, the nature of the relationship between the examiner and the examinee and relatedly the ethical principles that guide the evaluation, the breadth of the evaluation, and the work product itself.

The referral source of a clinical versus forensic evaluation

In a clinical evaluation, patients are referred by their personal physicians or other treaters, a family member, or are self-referred.

In a forensic evaluation, examinees are referred by a third party, such as a criminal or civil plaintiff or defense attorney, the court itself, another governmental or regulatory agency, a public safety entity such as a police or fire department, a religious organization, or a private business corporation.

Isaac Ray Forensic Group, LLC • 65 E. Wacker Place, Suite 2240 • Chicago, Illinois 60601 • Ph: 312.621.9002 Fax: 312.621.9003 E: info@irfg.org