Q: Can I file a malpractice claim against a psychologist?
If a psychologist has caused harm to a patient, it could lead to filing a malpractice claim. However, any harm must have arisen out of negligence or intent.
Establishing Liability against a Psychologist in a Malpractice Claim
Although psychologists don't prescribe medication or perform procedures, they still owe a duty of care to patients. If they breach this duty during the course of treatment, evidence must show that it was negligent and caused physical and/or emotional injury.
Improper evaluation of a patient is one example. Let's say there is a clear demonstration of suicidal behaviors and yet the psychologist does not report him or her. Failing to seek necessary outside help – such as law enforcement when there's an immediate threat – could show negligence.
Developing a sexual relationship with the patient is another example of professional misconduct. If the psychologist assaults the patient, physically or sexually, it may lead to a malpractice claim.
Another example is when a psychologist intentionally inflicts emotional distress on the patient or if there is a breach in trust, such as sharing personal information online.
Establishing Damages against a Psychologist in a Malpractice Claim
These are just some ways to show a breach in the duty of care owed. But there also has to be evidence that it resulted in damages. Unlike most other types of malpractice cases, it may or may not include medical bills. If the harm necessitates additional psychological care, then it might.
Many times damages address the emotional impact the patient suffered. This could lead to compensation for mental anguish and more.
The laws surrounding malpractice cases are oftentimes complicated. When they involve psychologists, they present other challenges. To learn about one's right to pursue compensation, talk with legal counsel. An attorney can determine the viability of a claim and help assemble evidence. Also, he or she can establish the types of damages to include in the claim.
Call Jason R. Schultz at 404-474-0804 to set up a consultation about your case.