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A Civil Practice: Tort and Civil Rights Cases


Section editor: William E. Foote 

Forensic psychologists are asked to consult with judges and lawyers and to conduct psychological evaluations in a diverse array of civil cases.  Most referrals stem from personal injury litigation and focus on the psychological injuries alleged by the plaintiff.  Others arise from civil rights cases, and may include requests for opinions related to liability as well as damages. 


Practice in the civil arena is especially challenging because of the broad array of injuries claimed by plaintiffs.  This means that the forensic psychologist practicing in civil cases may encounter claims for emotional damages from fire, verbal insults, auto accidents, maiming, dirty jokes in email, and many other sources.  Encountering a new injury context often requires the diligent forensic practitioner to read the relevant literature on the specific focus of the evaluation. 


This section of the journal will focus on articles exploring this diverse area, with an emphasis on explorations of the science supporting these evaluations.  The goal is to build a repository of articles that forensic psychologists may use to begin their work in a new kind of case, or to fill in their knowledge in a particular kind of injury.  In this section, we anticipate that the writer will illustrate the research with a case study. 



Cartwright, A., Roach, J., Wood, H., Wood, P. (2016). Mental Health Malingering and the Fraudulent Motor Insurance Claimant. Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology, 8, 1-16.

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