It’s rare to see someone launch a malpractice case against a psychiatrist. It’s even rarer to see a plaintiff win one. Psychiatrists account for 4% of active physicians and only 1% of paid medical malpractice claims.
Nevertheless, 1% is not 0%, and if you think you have grounds for a valid claim against a psychiatrist, you must speak with an attorney who can make that determination for you. While it’s impossible to speak to your specific case during the course of a short blog post, we can give you a brief overview of the issues that might arise.
Common Allegations in Mental Health Malpractice Cases
The most common allegation is that the patient either committed suicide or attempted suicide, followed by incorrect treatment claims.
A breach of confidentiality is a valid reason for a claim, as it can cause damages through loss of job, reputation, or family relationships. We’ve also seen successful claims in cases where the psychiatrist somehow abused the patient’s trust. If, for example, your psychiatrist sexually assaulted you, you might have grounds for a claim.
In a facility-based environment, we might see an improper supervision claim if improper supervision caused a psychiatric patient to injure themselves.
To win a malpractice case, your attorney must show that you were the patient of a specific psychiatrist who violated the standard of care and that this violation led directly to harm done to you. Further, we must show that harm caused damages.
The defense will come armed with questions. What specific medical bills have you paid due to the malpractice claim? How can you draw a direct line between those medical bills and the psychiatrist’s failure to adhere to the standard of care?
Even if you’ve experienced some mental anguish, that mental distress is almost always compensated by applying a multiplier to the base economic damages. Of course, if, for example, your case arises from an improper prescription that caused severe medical complications, you might have a stronger claim.
Plus, establishing causality takes a lot of work. It’s hard to prove what is going through any person’s mind at any given time. Is it possible to prove the psychiatrist’s actions caused the adverse outcome you’re speaking to and not job loss, grief over a lost loved one, or some other event?
A good attorney can make the case if any evidence supports your claims. If we decide to take your case, we will work with you to help you gather the appropriate documentation.
If you’re currently hurting because a psychiatrist has harmed you or a loved one, it might be hard to hear that it’s challenging to win these types of cases. Nevertheless, good cases rise to the top, and it’s always worth reviewing specific case facts.
Reach out to our office to schedule a free case review today. We’ll be happy to take a hard look at the facts and determine whether a lawsuit is right for you. We want you to obtain justice and will help you if it is in our power to do so.