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The Effect of COVID-19 and Defendant Insurer Medical Assessments

Case Overview
  • Defendant solicitors sought to have our client travel to undergo a second psychological assessment during the peak of Covid-19.
  • Due to experiencing aggravated psychological symptoms when traveling, our client did not want to travel for the assessment.
  • We did not consent to this either, as our client had previously undergone an assessment by the defendant’s preferred psychiatrist.

During the height of the COVID-19 in mid-2020, defendant solicitors sought to have our client undergo a second psychological assessment by a neuropsychologist after they had already assessed our client with their preferred psychiatrist, to study the relationship between early childhood ADHD and our client’s PTSD and other psychological symptoms caused as a result of childhood sexual and physical abuse.

The defendant was of the view that our client’s ADHD condition should be investigated in Sydney when our client lived in a different state and had clearly expressed she did not wish to travel to Sydney. This is due to experiencing aggravated psychological symptoms when traveling, from being in large crowds, and visiting new places.

“We believed that our client should not be subjected to further assessment, when a defendant psychiatrist report was unserved, especially considering the sensitive nature of the claim.”


Gerard Malouf
Our Approach

Our firm did not consent to our client undergoing this assessment, as she had previously undergone an assessment by a psychiatrist and the defendant was yet to serve the report. We anticipate that the defendant’s preferred psychiatrist report was not served as it was supportive of our client’s case. Our firm defended our client vigorously from the unfair and unreasonable methods that the defendant’s Insurer was attempting to inflict upon our client, and we were not afraid to fight the matter before a judge in court.

Further, the psychologist selected by the defendant required the neuropsychological assessment to occur in person and believed that the assessment could not be undertaken via video conferencing, during the peak of COVID-19. This meant our client was required to travel to Sydney to be assessed. Our client resides in a different state and due to COVID-19, our client would be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Our firm was of the view that this would have detrimental effects on our client’s mental health and would aggravate her psychological symptoms, hence we obtained medical evidence to support this position.

The defendant was of the view that only their preferred neuropsychologist in Sydney was appropriate and they insisted that our client fly or drive from out of state to Sydney for their second assessment of our client’s psychological history.

The defendant briefed a barrister to press their case, whilst our firm relied upon a senior solicitor, and we were able to achieve an outcome, where our client was provided with a clear advantage.

The Court was of the view that the defendant was entitled to a neuropsychological assessment, however, the Court agreed with our client about the negative impacts of travel and self-isolation on her mental health.

Ultimately, the Court’s verdict was if the defendant wished for our client to undergo neuropsychological assessment this would need to occur near our client’s residence outside of New South Wales and not with the preferred medical expert of the defendant.

The Court was of the view that if the defendant wanted to exercise its right to choose medical assessments for our client, it would need to bear the costs and inconvenience of doing so.

If you are looking for lawyers who are willing to vigorously fight for your claim, properly prepare for your claim, protect your rights and not back down to large insurance companies, contact our expert Public Liability Team at Gerard Malouf & Partners today.

 

The Result

The Court's verdict was if the defendant wished for our client to undergo neuropsychological assessment this would need to occur near our client’s residence.

Gerard Malouf

Principal
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