The law indicates that, when a personal injury is due to the proximal cause of another, then the person causing the injury owes a duty to the injured.  Most often, in American society, the duty takes the form of monetary payment.  Frequently, such cases are complex, since proximal cause can be difficult to determine with sufficient confidence.  More plainly, the court must determine how likely a sustained injury is the direct and sole cause of the action(s) of the person who caused it (but-for the individual’s actions, this injury would not have occurred). 

In addition to proximal cause, the court also must verify that an identifiable injury indeed occurred.  Sometimes the harm is completely physical, sometimes it is completely psychological, and sometimes it is a combination of physical and psychological factors.  When psychology elements are suspected, then a psychologist’s expertise often is utilized by the court in order to help determine whether mental injury exists and, if so, to what degree.  An example includes Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as a result of experiencing significant trauma.  A personal injury evaluation may involve a clinical interview, record review, psychological testing, and contacting collateral sources in the case.