Maryland Psychiatric Malpractice Attorney

Adequate mental health care is vitally important. All too often, we see stories of the suffering and even tragedy that can take place when a person is deprived of appropriate mental health care. When a person is seeking treatment from a mental health professional, he or she has the right to expect a level of care that meets professional standards.

When a psychiatrist or mental health professional fails to provide an acceptable standard of care, the patient or family members who have suffered as a result of this medical negligence may be able to obtain financial compensation through a Maryland psychiatric malpractice lawsuit.

What is Psychiatric Malpractice

Malpractice involves a failure to adhere to a professionally acceptable standard of requisite care in treating his or her patient. When a failure to provide a professional standard of care results in harm to the patient, malpractice has occurred.

Determining psychiatric malpractice in Maryland is often difficult. If the mental health care provider’s judgment is appropriate given the patient’s history and symptoms, then malpractice has likely not occurred, regardless of the outcome.

If the care or treatment plan is substandard, however, and the patient suffers physical or mental harm as a result, then it may be psychiatric malpractice.

There are several acts or omissions that frequently occur in psychiatric malpractice claims:

  • Sexual abuse or a sexual relationship between a mental health care provider and a person under his or her care
  • Verbal abuse of the patient or threatening the patient with harm or abandonment
  • Patient abandonment
  • Unnecessary use of restraints
  • Improperly subscribing medications or withholding medication
  • Violation of confidentiality or sharing patient information without consent
  • Failure to diagnose

Resulting harm may include suicide or attempted suicide, deteriorating mental health, depression, untreated or exacerbated mental health condition, or third-party liability if the patient harms another person as a result of inadequate treatment.

The American Psychiatric Association addresses several of these issues in a task force report concerning patient safety and psychiatry.

Proving Psychiatric Malpractice in Maryland

When a person files a mental health malpractice claim, the plaintiff must prove that malpractice has occurred by establishing the presence of four criteria:

  1. There must be a duty of care resulting from a doctor-patient relationship. The psychiatrist or clinician must be treating the patient and must owe the patient a professional standard of care.
  2. There must be a breach of the professional standard of care. The mental health care professional must have failed to provide a level of care that would be considered appropriate by others in the mental health field.
  3. There must be harm, which may include any physical manifestation, such as suicide, attempted suicide, assaults on third parties, or deteriorated mental health condition.
  4. There must be a causal link between the negligence and the harm. The harm occurred because the psychiatrist or clinician failed to provide an appropriate level of care.

Sometimes, it may be difficult to prove all of the elements and mental health professionals often assert refuses to these types of claims. Finding representation from a psychiatric malpractice lawyer can give you the best possible likelihood of proving your claim and receiving compensation for your injuries and losses.

Schedule a Free Psychiatric Malpractice Consultation

If you or someone you love has suffered as a result of negligent mental health care, you may be able to achieve financial compensation for medical expenses, further mental health treatment, lost wages, and more. Call today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Maryland psychiatric malpractice attorney to explore your options for recovery. Dealing with the technical and legal aspects of such a claim is not easy, and a lawyer’s guidance will be crucial in helping navigate the process.