Mental health, like physical health, requires physicians and healthcare providers who do their best to keep their patients’ best interests in mind and help them to the best of their abilities. If your psychologist or psychiatrist fails to provide you with the same kind of care that a reasonable therapist or psychologist should have used, you may be entitled to take them to court for the harms their negligent care caused you.
The Houston mental health malpractice attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm may be able to help with your case. Call our attorneys today to discuss scheduling a free legal consultation where you can learn more about how the process works when suing a doctor or psychologist for malpractice and get information about what your potential case might be worth. For your free legal consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
Mental Health Lawsuits for Negligent Care
When you go to a doctor, that doctor has a legal duty to give you healthcare that meets minimum standards of what a reasonable physician should do. The same is true for a mental health clinician. People commonly see psychologists or therapists to help them with problems including mental health diagnoses, emotional distress, and general stress and anxiety.
Alternatively, patients may work with a psychiatrist – a medical doctor specializing in mental health – to prescribe them medication to treat disorders. These clinicians and psych doctors owe their patients a similar duty to give them quality care. When they fail to do so, the patients can usually sue them for malpractice.
Mental health malpractice can occur in many different ways. The specifics of your case may not fit cleanly into any one of these categories, but mental health malpractice commonly occurs in one of the following areas:
Medication Errors and Negligent Prescriptions
If your psychiatrist gives you drugs that they should have known would have dangerous side effects or trigger an allergic reaction or bad drug interaction, they may be responsible for the medication errors.
Involuntary Commitment Malpractice
If your psych care provider commits you to a mental health institution or an inpatient facility when such drastic measures are inappropriate or unreasonable, they could be held responsible for the additional stress, confinement, and medication interactions you should never have had to suffer.
Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
Many psych patients seek a diagnosis, and putting a name to your symptoms can be an important part of treating your condition. However, psych health care providers who improperly diagnose patients may end up giving them expensive treatment that fails to help or makes their condition worse, causing the patient to suffer.
A psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist who takes advantage of patients can be held accountable for the harm they cause. Physical or sexual assault against patients and clients is uncalled for and would be considered negligent treatment.
Breach of Confidentiality
People are encouraged to talk to their therapists openly, and therapists are required by law and by professional ethics standards to keep what they say confidential. Therapists may be authorized to report to a parent, a court, or a school, under some situations, but disclosing any information about the client and their care without authorization is typically malpractice.
Suing Psychiatrists and Therapists for Negligent Mental Health Care
If your therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist fails to follow the reasonable standards required of them, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against them to seek financial compensation. Most mental healthcare providers carry psychiatric malpractice coverage to pay for damages and an attorney in case they do commit errors. This means that, while there may be funds available to pay for your damages, you may need your own legal team to fight to get you the damages you deserve.
When you file a mental health malpractice lawsuit, you will need to prove your claim to get compensation. This means providing the court with evidence of the provider’s errors and mistakes. To complete this proof, you will need to present an expert witness who is a qualified mental healthcare expert. This expert can testify as to what your psych care provider did wrong and how those errors constitute malpractice. Your lawyer can arrange hiring an expert.
To receive damages in court, you must also prove the damages you faced. These costs can be calculated by looking at the totality of the circumstances and how the malpractice affected you. First, you may need medical care and additional mental health care and counseling to reverse the effects of the negligent care you received. Especially if the malpractice was caused by medication errors, you may need expensive healthcare to treat your injuries alongside any additional mental healthcare you need.
You may also claim damages for any lost wages the negligence caused you. If medication changes put you in the hospital, additional care needs keep you from work, or involuntary commitment keeps you unjustly locked up, you may be entitled to claim damages for any missed wages you faced.
You can also claim damages for pain and suffering. In some cases, this pain may be physical, but in most cases you will suffer damages for mental anguish and emotional distress. Your attorney can help you calculate these damages and prove them with your testimony.
Call Our Houston Mental Health Malpractice Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one suffered negligent mental health treatment and counseling, contact our Houston mental health malpractice attorneys today. The Queenan Law Firm’s medical malpractice and psychiatric malpractice attorneys may be able to take your psych care provider to court and fight to get you compensation for misdiagnosis, medication errors, involuntary commitment, breach of confidentiality, and other instances of malpractice in psychological or psychiatric care. For your free legal consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.