While relatively uncommon, there are some situations that warrant a claim for medical malpractice against psychiatrist, if ever a therapist acts outside of the appropriate standard of care and a patient is harmed. As a result, there may be grounds for a lawsuit. If you or your loved one was recently injured and a psychiatrist’s negligence may have contributed to the injury or death, you’ll want to take your case to a local injury lawyer.
Types of Psychiatrist Negligence
There are numerous ways a psychiatrist may act carelessly or outside the scope of his or her duties. Below are a few examples of situations that could give rise to a malpractice lawsuit.
- Failing to diagnose a dangerous condition
- Misdiagnosing a condition
- Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
- Not documenting a suicidal risk or not carefully monitoring or following up with high-risk patients
- Failing to respond to family members’ concerns about a patient with suicidal behaviors
- Prescribing habit-forming medications without evaluating a patient’s risk of drug dependency (or wittingly contributing to the patient’s doctor shopping scheme)
- Failure to evaluate a suicidal patient’s environment, such as exposure to firearms
- Not alerting authorities or another third party if a dangerous patient has discussed a potential victim
- Failure to monitor or conduct regular lithium and electrolyte tests on patients who are prescribed lithium
- Failure to get informed consent when prescribing psychotropic medications
- Failing to conduct neurological evaluations on patients who have a decreased level of consciousness or an altered mental state
- Terminating services for a patient in crisis to avoid malpractice risk
- Failing to document professional judgments, risk factors, and diagnoses
- Sexual abuse
- Abuse of power
Suing for Damages
Not every mistake a psychiatrist makes is grounds for a malpractice suit. To have a viable case, you must be able to establish the following elements.
- The psychiatrist acted in a way that was not in alignment with the industry’s standard of care. In other words, the doctor was negligent. This is usually established by using the testimony of an unbiased field expert (another psychiatrist) who can validate the psychiatrist in question acted in a way that was sub-standard.
- The psychiatrist’s negligence was the cause of the patient’s harm.
- The patient suffered actual injury (or death).
Discussing Your Case with a Psychiatrist Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Your first step to determining if you can recover damages via a medical malpractice claim or suit, you’ll need to have a malpractice attorney assess your case. For legal counsel in Georgia, you are welcome to contact attorney Jason R. Schultz for a free consultation. Contact our office today at 404-474-0804 and schedule your evaluation.