Legal Issues Involved With Suing A Psychiatrist For Malpractice

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Can you sue a psychiatrist for medical malpractice? It depends on a number of legal issues. Determining malpractice by this type of medical doctor is not always as clear as it is with surgeons and those in charge of making physical diagnoses. However, the same principles apply. If you believe your psychiatrist was negligent, unprofessional or careless, and that that this led to negative consequences, consult a malpractice lawyer from a firm like Davidson Law Center Inc for an evaluation of your case.

Legal Issues

To file a malpractice suit or demand a settlement from a doctor or medical facility, you must provide certain types of evidence. It is not enough, for instance, to feel that the psychiatrist did not build good rapport with you and that you wasted your money.

Many malpractice cases are dismissed by the court, and doctors and medical facilities typically win cases that are not dismissed. A lawyer is unlikely to accept your case unless there is definitive evidence of errors or unethical behavior, as well as resulting harm. 

Error in Diagnosis

If a psychiatrist diagnoses the wrong mental illness or does not recognize signs of a serious mental illness, the patient can become progressively worse. Because of the delay in effective treatment, he or she may have difficulty recovering or being able to manage the illness, and serious negative consequences can result. 

Error in Treatment

An error in treatment may be connected with a diagnostic error, with negligence or with lack of skill. Prescribing the wrong medication can be particularly harmful, as certain psychiatric drugs can worsen mental illnesses that they are not intended to treat. 

Unethical Behavior

Unethical behavior can be difficult to prove because you need evidence. If your psychiatrist made sexual or romantic advances toward you, that is against medical ethics, as it exploits the trust between a patient and doctor. However, you'll need to prove he or she did it to win a lawsuit.

Evidence might include statements from witnesses who saw the doctor make unwelcome visits to your home or workplace, inappropriate cards or emails sent by the doctor, and statements from the doctor's previous patients who experienced similar issues.  

General Negligence

If your psychiatrist was negligent in providing mental health care, you may have a good case. For example, a psychiatrist who is substantially cutting back on work hours for any reason should refer patients to another doctor if there is no longer enough room for them in the schedule. If you previously relied on weekly therapy sessions and were subsequently left with two sessions a month, that could be viewed as negligence. 

Proving Harm

In addition, you and your lawyer must prove harm occurred due to the psychiatrist's actions. Examples of psychiatric harm include:

  • a patient's worsening emotional or mental state 
  • developing a permanent side effect due to taking prescribed medication when the doctor did not inform you of this possibility
  • becoming addicted to prescription medication if it was provided for an abnormally long time frame
  • doing something to harm oneself because of the psychiatrist's actions, such as attempting suicide
  • harming other people because of the psychiatrist's negligence, such as committing a violent act due to mental illness

What Can You Do Now? 

Contact a medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation. Prepare for the meeting by gathering all relevant medical records you have access to and by making notes of all the information you believe is pertinent to your situation. The attorney will ask questions and evaluate your circumstances to determine whether you have a good case. If you do, the lawyer will gather the evidence necessary to demand a settlement from the doctor's insurance carrier or to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. 


21 January 2015

Noni and the Accident

My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.