Medicine and the Law

Writing a medicolegal report: the psychological consequences of accidents

John Ellard



Your patient was injured in an industrial accident. His solicitors have asked for a medical report and he has authorised you to reply. You have a clear understanding of his physical injuries but you do not feel confident in describing the psychological sequelae. You imagine a horde of psychiatrists, all equipped with the DSM-IV, waiting to pounce on you for using the wrong labels. Here is why you do not need to worry.

Article Extract

Before putting pen to paper remember the advice given in my previous article on writing a report. The more objective your report, the more it will help your patient achieve justice. Make a clear distinction between what you have observed yourself and what you have been told. Use plain English, and everyone will understand what you are trying to say.