Dallas Psychiatric Malpractice Attorneys
“Psychiatric malpractice” refers to any situation where your psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist’s care falls below the standards the profession requires. Many instances of psych malpractice are similar to medical malpractice and involve misdiagnosis or medication errors. Others are unique to the risks that psychiatrists and therapists manage as part of their job and could end with serious tragedies such as a client committing or attempting suicide.
If you suspect that the psych care that you or a loved one received fell below the standard of care and could be considered malpractice, call The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Dallas, TX psychiatric malpractice attorneys represent victims of psych malpractice and fight to hold practitioners and institutions responsible to get victims the compensation they need to cover damages related to the malpractice. For a free case consultation, contact our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.
What Constitutes Psychiatric Malpractice in Dallas, TX?
What is and is not considered malpractice is typically based on the professional standards of the specific practitioner as well as objective standards of what is “reasonable” given the situation at hand. This means that what is malpractice for one practitioner might not be malpractice for another. For instance, psychiatrists are medical doctors who usually have the ability to prescribe medication, but other therapists do not have this ability. It would be normal for a psychiatrist to prescribe medication, but it could be illegal for other therapists to give drugs to their clients without a license.
This standard also means that what is dangerous or negligent in some circumstances might be okay in others. For instance, it is typically malpractice to disclose a patient’s information to a police officer. If the client was seeking therapy as part of their probation requirements and gave permission to disclose info to their probation officer, this is usually allowed and would not be malpractice.
Bad Outcomes vs. Malpractice
Just because there was a bad outcome or a client’s mental health declined while they were receiving treatment does not automatically mean that the therapist committed malpractice. In many cases, therapy or psychiatric treatment is difficult on the client, and increased stress and worsened symptoms are often an unfortunate part of the treatment process. However, a psych professional and a psychiatric malpractice attorney can help determine when the line is crossed into psychiatric malpractice.
“Standard of Care” in Psych Malpractice Cases
If a psych professional does something that goes against what other reasonable therapists with similar training and experience would have done, that could be considered malpractice and a violation of the “standard of care.” For example, most therapists and counselors are trained to assess patients and clients for suicide risk if they mention thoughts of suicide. Failing to screen a patient this way could result in suicide attempts that could have been prevented with proper screening, and the practitioner could be accused of malpractice for failing to assess the patient’s suicide risk. However, this does not mean that every case where a client commits suicide is the therapist’s fault, and it is important to investigate the specific facts of what happened and determine whether they violated the standard of care.
Other failures are more obvious, such as breaches of confidentiality, medication errors or mix-ups, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failure to diagnose, or unnecessary commitment to a mental health institution.
Suing a Therapist or Psychiatrist for Psych Malpractice in Dallas
In most cases, mental health institutions, clinics, and individual practitioners will carry malpractice insurance that protects them if they are accused of malpractice. This means that any cases filed against a mental health professional accusing them of psych malpractice will often be filed against the individual or institution, but their psychiatric malpractice insurance company will provide them with an experienced lawyer and pay for damages on their behalf.
This means that it is equally important to hire an experienced psychiatric malpractice victims lawyer who can stand up for you and fight for your rights. In many cases, insurance companies will seek to settle these cases cheaply instead of letting them go to court. However, this kind of settlement often prevents you from claiming damages for things like pain and suffering. These damages could be a large portion of the damages in a case where no physical harm is done, as most of the damage will involve mental and emotional effects instead of physical injuries and medical expenses.
Before filing a psychiatric malpractice case, you should always discuss your case with a lawyer. Our Dallas psychiatric malpractice attorneys can help you secure certifications from expert witnesses to help build your case, subpoena medical records to help build evidence of what your treatment was like, and help you process and understand what evidence and information might already be in your possession.
Damages for Psychiatric Malpractice Lawsuits in Dallas
Ultimately, many malpractice lawsuits do settle, and the insurance company pays a negotiated amount for the harm you suffered. It is vital to review the damages in your case with one of our Dallas psychiatric malpractice attorneys before accepting anything from the defendant. If you accept a payout from the insurance company, this could function as a settlement, barring you from claiming additional damages in court later if you are unsatisfied with the damages. If a settlement offer is unfair or too low, our attorneys can work to negotiate a better settlement or take the case to trial and seek damages from a jury award. We can help you understand what options you have and the pros and cons of each choice.
Call Our Dallas Psychiatric Malpractice Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one was affected by negligent counseling, therapy, or psychiatric care, contact The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Dallas, TX psychiatric malpractice attorneys work to file lawsuits against individual therapists and institutions to help our clients get compensation for their additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to psychiatric malpractice. For your free consultation, call our Dallas personal injury lawyer today at (817) 476-1797.