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Neuropsychological assessment fact sheet for solicitors, CTP insurers and LTCS staff

Neuropsychological assessments are conducted to assess cognitive ability and functioning. In the NSW Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme and Lifetime Care and Support (LTCS) Scheme these assessments are conducted with people who have sustained, or are suspected to have sustained, traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a motor vehicle crash. The information from assessments and reports is used by the treating rehabilitation team to guide intervention plans and monitor recovery.

The results and reports from these assessments are also useful for insurers and solicitors when considering the claim, establishing the severity of injury, determining settlement or assessing benefits. However, reports should not be arranged solely for these purposes if avoidable. Before recommending an assessment, insurers and solicitors must determine the expected timeframes for assessments required for informing the injured person’s rehabilitation and recovery, and work with these schedules. If there are no plans in place an assessment may be arranged. Assessments should be conducted at least one year, and ideally two years apart.

The guidelines for neuropsychological assessment of children and adults with traumatic brain injury within the NSW Compulsory Third Party Scheme and Lifetime Care and Support Scheme 2013 have been developed to inform all interested parties of their role and responsibility in the arrangement and conducting of neuropsychological assessments.

Important considerations for insurers and solicitors are:

  • When considering arranging an assessment insurers and solicitors should:
    • find out when the most recent assessment was conducted, and when a subsequent assessment has been recommended and wait for this timeframe if possible
    • contact the psychologist who has conducted previous assessments for advice and information
    • inform all parties of the intention to arrange an assessment using the neuropsychological assessment notification (NAN) form at least four weeks prior to the assessment date.
  • If an assessment has been recently completed:
    • the insurer or solicitor should request a copy of the report
    • and a specific matter or issue of interest is not addressed in the report the psychologist should be asked to provide supplementary information to reduce the need for an additional assessment. Costs associated should be determined prior to the provision of information and all other parties advised.
  • When advice that a neuropsychological assessment has been arranged by another party, (via the NAN) an insurer or solicitor should:
    • agree that the nominated psychologist is suitable to conduct the assessment or notify the other parties if there is not agreement within 10 working days of receiving the advice (see the guidelines for details)
    • provide the nominated psychologist and all other parties with any relevant information or specific instructions in advance of the assessment date.
  • When a solicitor or insurer needs to arrange an assessment they must:
    • advise all parties of the assessment date, psychologist and information/instructions provided by completing and distributing the NAN
    • ensure that the nominated psychologist is appropriately experienced and qualified to conduct the assessment and will adhere to the Guidelines
    • agree to distribute the report to all parties.

Insurers and solicitors must be familiar with their roles and responsibilities as outlined in the Guidelines. Requests for assessments that are contrary to the Guidelines may be considered unreasonable, put unnecessary burden on the injured person and may impact the validity of results due to practice effects.

Questions?

If you have any questions about an assessment or report, contact the psychologist or treating physician for information, before arranging an additional assessment.