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Psychiatric Malpractice

NYC Psychiatric Malpractice Attorney

Suing a Psychiatrist for Malpractice

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.

Examples of Psychiatric Malpractice

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:

  • Failing to provide ongoing documentation of patient’s suicide risk
  • Failing to follow up with a patient who displays suicidal behaviors
  • Failing to respond to family members who call with concerns about the patient
  • Failing to evaluate the safety of the patient’s environment, particularly their access to firearms and other dangerous instruments
  • If a patient has identified an individual they expressed a desire to harm, failing to warn that individual
  • Prescribing lithium without the appropriate testing and monitoring
  • Failing to adequately document patient medications
  • Altering patient records
  • Becoming sexually involved with a patient

“Proximate Cause” in Psychiatric Malpractice Claims

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.

Establishing a Psychiatric Malpractice Lawsuit

Grounds for a medical malpractice claim are generally established if the following four factors are present in the case:

  1. There was an established doctor-patient relationship
  2. The psychiatrist was negligent, breaching his or her duty to care for the patient
  3. The patient suffered damages, physical and/or mental
  4. The breach of duty subsequently caused or contributed to the damages

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!

More Than $300 Million In Verdicts & Settlements For Our Clients

The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C.'s team of NYC personal injury attorneys have recovered more than $300 million in verdicts and settlements for their clients. We understand the financial and emotional toll a serious accident can have on your life. That’s why we dedicate ourselves to maximizing your recovery and securing what you deserve.

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  • $40,000,000
    Medical malpractice. Child’s brain damage. Total amount of payout of structured settlement
  • $3,100,000
    Infant brain damage at birth, case settled. Total amount of payout of “structured settlement
  • $1,700,000
    Negligent delivery of infant results in cerebral palsy.
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