Houston Psychiatric Malpractice Attorneys
Psychiatric malpractice occurs when a psychiatrist or therapist makes mistakes or errors in their treatment that cause unnecessary harm to the client. This kind of mistake can come from something simple like breach of confidentiality, or it can come from more pervasive areas that either cause you additional harm, cause you to take medication you do not need, or even cause you to be unjustly committed to an institution.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of psychiatric malpractice in the Houston area, contact The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Houston, TX psychiatric malpractice attorneys represent individuals and their families after psych malpractice events and work to hold the therapist or other professional responsible for their actions. For a free legal consultation, call us at (817) 476-1797 as soon as possible.
Examples of Psychiatric Malpractice in Houston Cases
As with most mental health issues, problems involving psychiatric malpractice can have severe consequences. Many instances of malpractice by psychiatrists (medical doctors who perform therapy) or other psychologists and counselors (non-MD therapists) can result in substantial harm, such as increased symptoms, mental health crises, commitment, complications with medication, or even suicide.
Some examples of psych malpractice involve breaches of trust and confidentiality. Therapists are required to keep confidentiality, but if they mistakenly disclose information about their client or tell a client’s family member about their treatment without the client’s permission, they could have committed malpractice.
Other instances of malpractice are similar to the issues that make up many medical malpractice cases. For instance, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or delayed diagnosis could mean that a client or patient does not get the help they need, potentially leading to worsened conditions. Mistakes, mix-ups, or errors in prescribing medication for mental health conditions can also lead to harm, especially if the patient suffers an allergic reaction to a drug or a dangerous interaction with another drug.
Sometimes therapists and psych workers can end up failing to accomplish treatment goals because of mistakes or inadequate attention to treatment. This can sometimes mean negative results or lack of improvement for the client, but proving that the therapist simply did a bad job is often difficult. Unfortunately, mistakes in care are more obvious when there are catastrophic results from inept psych care, such as suicide attempts that come after a therapist failed to adequately screen for suicide ideation or after a psychiatric hospital or facility failed to put a patient on suicide watch.
Mistakes where the psych professional was too aggressive can also lead to malpractice claims in cases of unnecessary committal or other unnecessary treatments.
Suing for Psych Malpractice in Houston, TX
When a psychotherapist or counselor commits malpractice, you might be entitled to sue them in court. Psych malpractice cases have a few necessary elements that you must establish in order to show that you have a case. These will ultimately be the factors you need to prove in court to win your case as well.
First, you must show that you have a patient-therapist or doctor-patient relationship with the practitioner. If you received treatment at an inpatient or outpatient facility, it is likely that you had such a relationship with multiple members of the staff, potentially including therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, and other personnel. If you received one-on-one counseling from a therapist or psychiatrist, this relationship is also clear. However, you might not have had an established relationship in cases where your own doctor consulted with a psych professional who did not treat you. You might also be unable to show a patient-therapist relationship with a partner at a practice who did not participate in your care.
Standard of Care
After establishing the relationship, you will need to show that they breached some legal duty they owed you. In some cases with psych care, the standard of care is defined by standards or even laws that dictate when therapists must take certain acts, such as screening a client who mentions thoughts of suicide. Other standards are based on objective standards of what other reasonable therapists with similar training and experience would have done in the same situation.
You must also prove that the therapist’s mistakes actually caused the harm in the case. If a family member committed suicide while in treatment, it might be impossible to prove that they did so because of the care they received. If the therapist failed to perform screening that might have prevented the suicide attempt, then the therapist is more likely to be held responsible. Proving causation is often very specific to the facts of the case.
Lastly, you need to prove that there was actual harm done. Disclosing a client’s confidential information has inherent harm to it, and the harm is also obvious when it results in physical injury or death of a client. In other cases, it might be harder to prove what specific harm the client faced, but examples often include additional bills or expenses for therapy costs, unnecessary expenses for unnecessary treatment, pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, and lost wages.
Call Our Houston Psychiatric Malpractice Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one received negligent care at a psych facility, received negligent therapy from a counselor or therapist, or received sub-par care from a psychiatrist, contact The Queenan Law Firm. Our Houston, TX psychiatric malpractice attorneys may be able to help you sue the responsible individuals and facilities for compensation for the harm you suffered. For a free case consultation with our Houston personal injury attorneys, contact us today at (817) 476-1797.