Forensic Psychology_edited_edited_edited




"Your work is invaluable for plaintiff and defense attorneys."

Forensic Psychologist


'Significant' & 'Egregious' Emotional Distress


There is virtually no limit to the amount a jury may award for emotional distress & pain and suffering.*  Dr. Lerner specializes in emotional distress claims by providing attorneys with:

           1.  Psych Document / Record Review, and

           2.  Forensic Psychological Evaluation.

1.  Psych Document / Record Review

Do you receive psychiatric, psychological, and other mental health evaluations—progress notes, medical records, education records, employment records, witness reports, police reports, and depositions? 

Psych Document / Record Review assists attorneys in proving or disproving claims of negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress & pain and suffering. When convergent data are available, further assessment of the claimant is generally not necessary.


Dr. Lerner provides detailed document annotations and executive summaries that address the extent of a plaintiff's emotional and functional problems. Data can be instrumental in determining whether an event was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's alleged difficulties.

Document review empowers plaintiff and defense counsel to:

          •  identify strengths and weaknesses in clinical documentation,

          •  understand empirical psychometric test results and pinpoint critical findings, 

          •  provide unsettling questions for depositions and trials that practitioners DO NOT want to be asked, and

          •  save the expense of unnecessary and time-consuming psychiatric and psychological evaluations.

"In just days, Dr. Lerner provided skillfully annotated documents that reinforced our

legal strategy and obviated the need for costly and time-consuming reevaluation."

Unlike a treating therapist or testifying expert, a forensic consultant functions under the cover of the attorney's work product. And since documentation review does not involve diagnosis, treatment, evaluation, or prevention of a disorder, it is not the professional practice of psychology. This enables Dr. Lerner to consult regularly with attorneys across the country.

* While there is no cap on the amount a jury may award for emotional distress & pain and suffering in New York, there are caps in some states.

2.  Forensic Psychological Evaluation

In order to substantiate the presence of "egregious" emotional distress, there must be supportive medical and/or psychological documentation. When there are a paucity of data concerning the severity of a client's condition, Dr. Lerner is frequently called upon to conduct a Forensic Psychological Evaluation.


Psychological evaluation provides attorneys with a detailed report focusing on the reason for referral, an extensive discussion regarding the event(s) that prompted the evaluation, the client's history, their mental status, a review of their functioning, objective psychometric testing, diagnostic impressions, the prognosis, etc.

By obtaining clinical and empirical data, evaluation of the plaintiff can empower counsel to prove or disprove claims of egregious emotional distress. 

Dr. Lerner coined the term "Personal Psychological Injury" to address the often overlooked and minimized psychological and functional damages caused by traumatic events. He has served as an expert witness for both plaintiffs and defendants in legal matters involving:


           • bullying

           • child abuse

           • rape

           • sexual mollestation

           • sexual harassment

           • defamation

           • hostile work environments

           • wrongful termination

           • wrongful psychiatric hospitalization

           • employment matters

           • motor vehicle accidents

           • train accidents

           • personal injury

           • medical malpractice, and  

           • other civil matters.

Forensic Psychological Evaluations are conducted only when the client is present in the State of New York.

The Second Circuit Sorts Emotional Distress Into Three Categories: 

“Garden-Variety,” Significant/Substantial,” and “Egregious”


Garden-Variety distress claims have been divided into low-end claims ($5,000 to $15,000) and high-end claims ($20,000 to $35,000). Such awards have been rendered in cases where the evidence of harm was presented primarily through the testimony of the plaintiff without medical/psychological corroboration.  


Significant ($50,000 to $100,000) and Substantial emotional distress claims ($100,000). These claims differ from garden variety-claims in that they are based on more serious harm or more offensive conduct, and are often corroborated by witnesses and/or medical documentation. 


Egregious emotional distress claims are in excess of $100,000. These claims have been awarded when the defendant's conduct was outrageous and shocking or when the physical health of plaintiff was significantly affected.


In all cases, having psychiatric and/or psychological documentation that substantiates significant emotional and functional problems will increase the likelihood of an award for emotional distress & pain and suffering.