In What is Forensic Psychiatry?, forensic psychiatry expert witness Dr. Jerald H. Ratner, M.D., L.F.A.P.A., F.A.B.F.E., describes the role of the forensic psychiatrist:
A psychiatrist with forensic expertise can assist attorneys, federal agencies, plaintiffs, defendants, and the courts to evaluate claims for psychiatric damages, disability and competency.
A psychiatrist with forensic experience is a physician who integrates clinical experience, knowledge of medicine, mental health, and the neurosciences to form an independent, objective opinion. Relevant data is gathered, analyzed and synthesized as part of a process of alternative hypothesis testing to formulate an expert medical/psychiatric opinion. The expert opinion is fortified and validated by a psychiatrist who maintains a predominantly clinical practice (i.e., evaluates and treats patients on a continuous and active basis).