Psychiatrists have a duty to care for their patients. If they fail to meet the accepted standard of care and the patient suffers physical or mental harm as a result, the psychiatrist could be held responsible for malpractice. Psychiatrists must uphold an “accepted standard of care,” which usually means that they acted in accordance with what any other reasonable and diligent psychiatrist would have done under the same set of circumstances.
A psychiatrist’s actions can fall below the standard of care, but if it causes no injury (whether mental or physical), then there is likely no malpractice claim. Conversely, a psychiatrist’s actions can meet the standard of care, but the patient can still suffer harm. In the latter scenario, there likely is no malpractice claim either. Psychiatric malpractice claims are typically characterized as actions that fall below the standard of care that result in physical and/or mental harm to the patient.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and PRMS, Inc., the following actions or inactions can increase a psychiatrist’s risk of becoming the subject of a psychiatric malpractice claim:
In order to establish a psychiatric malpractice claim, there must be an identifiable link between the psychiatrist’s actions (or inaction) and harm to the patient. In other words, attorneys in medical malpractice cases must be able to prove a link between a psychiatrist’s negligence and injury to the patient. The principle of “foreseeability” is also important here. Some malpractice claims are denied if the plaintiff cannot prove that the injury was a foreseeable consequence of the psychiatrist’s action or inaction.
Grounds for a medical malpractice claim are generally established if the following four factors are present in the case:
These cases are complex, and best evaluated by an experienced New York City psychiatric malpractice attorney. Contact The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. for a complete evaluation. We offer free initial consultations and our clients do not pay a fee unless we win their case!
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