Personal injury claims: The role of an Educational Psychologist
After suffering damage as a result of negligence, one of the steps in determining the amount of compensation is obtaining medico-legal reports by specialists. One of the experts who may assist in this process is an Educational Psychologist. Their knowledge and experience provides guidance on the likelihood and duration of schooling, further studies and ultimately career projections.
For more information on the different components and how the value of a claim is determined – Click Here
Educational psychologists are involved in the quantum phase of a trial, in other words after liability and responsibility to pay compensation has been successfully proven. For a list of other experts that may be involved in your case, see our article on Medical Negligence – Medico Legal Experts.
What does an Educational Psychologist do?
In a nutshell, it’s a branch of psychology that is concerned with understanding and improving how students acquire a variety of capabilities through formal instruction. Many factors are taken into account and these include the learner’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development; cultural, social, emotional, and intellectual differences; learning and problem-solving processes; self-esteem; motivation; and testing and measurement procedures.
Specifically, in a personal injury or loss of support matter they look at how likely it is that a person would have studied, their likely level of education, the age at which they would complete studies and how this would impact their careers and ability to be financially independent or earn an income.
Based on a client’s educational and employment history, alternatively their family’s history, they are able to predict probable study and even career scenarios which assists in determining the value of a claim related to financial loss of earnings, earning potential or loss of financial support suffered by dependents. The court has the discretion to consider, accept or disagree with the opinions, therefor it is important to have the opinion of a recognised and experienced educational psychology expert to support your claim.
Qualifications and training needed
As far as professional qualifications are concerned, one would require five years’ full-time formal education in Psychology in order to register as an educational psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). This tuition comprises of the following:
- A three-year Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Psychology or the equivalent thereof.
- An Honours Degree in Psychology.
- A Master’s Degree in Psychology approved by the HPCSA.
One will also need to have successfully completed an approved 12-month full-time internship as well as the National Examination of the Professional Board for Psychology in the Educational Psychology category.
How does an Educational Psychologist assist in a case?
Educational Psychologists will need to assess a client’s complete educational (and employment) history to make predictions of possible future scenarios, before and after the damage causing event. This may include:
- Completion of specially created questionnaires and personal interviews and consultations;
- Collection of documents and proof of education and employment such academic and qualification certificates, academic records.
- Information on education, qualifications and careers of parents, siblings and family.
The opinion of Educational Psychologists are especially useful in assisting other experts, including Industrial Psychologists in order to postulate the likely career path which a person could have followed as well as the income associated therewith.
Obtaining the maximum and fair amount of compensation in your personal injury claim is important, since in South African law a person only has one opportunity to claim for a specific injury. If your case is not researched and proven correctly, you may be seriously undercompensated.