People seeking psychiatric treatment are generally grappling with mental or emotional health issues and are particularly vulnerable to psychological harm. As such, when a psychiatrist fails to provide a patient with appropriate care or treatment, devastating consequences may result. If you suffered harm due to a psychiatrist’s negligence, you should consult legal counsel to discuss whether you may be able to pursue claims for compensation. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers hold healthcare providers accountable when their carelessness results in harm to their patients. We will work diligently to help you seek the damages to which you may be entitled. We regularly assist people in psychiatric malpractice lawsuits as well as other medical malpractice cases.Damages Caused by Psychiatric Malpractice
A variety of behaviors may constitute psychiatric malpractice, including emotional or physical abuse, or engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient. Additionally, failing to properly obtain a patient’s medical history or failing to properly diagnose a patient may be malpractice, as it can lead to prescribing inappropriate medications that have serious side effects or are ineffective in treating a patient’s issues. Psychiatrists may also be liable for institutionalizing a patient without sufficient grounds, sharing a patient’s private health information without consent, or using restraints without justification. Incompetent psychiatric care may lead to deterioration of a patient’s mental or physical health, suicide, attempted suicide, or harm to third parties.Elements of a Psychiatric Malpractice Lawsuit
Although the harm caused by inadequate psychiatric care may not always be physical, psychiatric malpractice lawsuits generally proceed in the same manner as other medical malpractice lawsuits. In other words, a plaintiff alleging harm due to psychiatric malpractice generally must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to treat the plaintiff in a manner that complied with the appropriate standard of care, which is care that a competent practitioner with similar skills and experience would provide in a similar situation. The plaintiff must also prove that the treatment provided by the defendant departed from the standard of care and that the departure caused the plaintiff’s harm. In other words, the plaintiff must establish that if the defendant did not breach the applicable standard of care, the plaintiff would not have sustained damages.
Generally, a plaintiff alleging harm due to psychiatric malpractice must retain an expert to testify regarding the standard of care and the manner in which the defendant breached the standard of care, and to relate the breach to the plaintiff’s harm. An expert witness in a Maryland medical malpractice case must either have experience teaching medicine or clinical experience in the same specialty as the defendant within five years of the date of the alleged malpractice. Certain people are precluded from testifying on behalf of either party, however. A seasoned medical malpractice attorney can help you locate an expert who can testify in your case.
A plaintiff that effectively establishes liability in a psychiatric malpractice case may be awarded the cost of any medical treatment needed for his or her harm, including psychiatric treatment, and the cost of any treatment the plaintiff is reasonably expected to need in the future. If the plaintiff could not work due to the harm caused by the defendant’s malpractice, the plaintiff may also be able to recover lost wages. Additionally, the plaintiff may be owed compensation for the pain and suffering he or she endured due to the harm caused by the defendant. If the plaintiff was married at the time the harm occurred, the plaintiff’s spouse may also be able to recover damages.Talk to a Skillful Medical Malpractice Lawyer Serving Baltimore
Treating a patient for mental health issues is a complex process, and psychiatrists that do not provide attentive care to their patients can cause significant damages. If you were injured by psychiatric malpractice, it is prudent to talk to an attorney about whether you may have a viable claim against your doctor. At Arfaa Law Group, we are skilled at navigating the complexities of medical malpractice cases, and we regularly represent people harmed by incompetent medical care. We have an office in Baltimore and can be contacted via our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to schedule a confidential and free meeting.