We count on psychiatrists to help us manage and overcome mental health issues like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia. When psychiatrists are negligent in providing treatment they can cause serious, potentially life-threatening issues.
Proving a psychiatrist was negligent is complicated and requires a thorough investigation and understanding of the treatment of mental health issues. The Cincinnati psychiatric malpractice lawyers at our firm have vast knowledge of these issues and how to build a strong case in defense of your best interests. We are prepared to manage every aspect of your case and aggressively pursue the fair compensation you deserve.
Our medical error attorneys offer free, no obligation legal consultations and does not charge legal fees unless you receive compensation.
What Do Psychiatrists Treat?
Psychiatrists provide treatment for a variety of emotional and mental health problems, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Compulsive behaviors
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Eating disorders
- Panic disorder
Psychiatrists have a variety of ways to treat mental health problems, including prescribing medications like antidepressants, sedatives, mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics. They can also use electroconvulsive therapy, deep brain stimulation, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and hospitalization.
If you received negligent treatment from a psychiatrist, contact our Cincinnati attorneys for a free legal consultation today.
Forms Of Psychiatric Malpractice
Our Cincinnati attorneys know psychiatrists do not always provide appropriate treatment or take the proper steps to help their patients manage their condition. There are also rare cases where psychiatrists intentionally harm their patients.
Some common forms of psychiatric malpractice include:
- Physically abusing patients
- Having a sexual relationship with a patient
- Misdiagnosing a patient’s condition
- Failing to diagnose or treat a patient’s condition, this could include many things, like failing to prescribe medication
- Making verbal threats against a patient
- Failing to do an appropriate suicide risk assessment
- Failing to take appropriate steps to deal with a patient who is suicidal
- Prescribing medication without warning the patient about dangerous side effects
- Failing to monitor a patient after changing his or her medication
- Failing to properly assess a patient’s risk of engaging in violent behavior
- Failing to obtain informed consent before prescribing medication
- Failing to respond when family members contact the psychiatrist with concerns about a patient’s suicidal behaviors
- Failing to document a patient’s medication history, which can result in prescribing medication that causes an allergic reaction
- Failing to change a medication when the patient experiences severe or dangerous side effects
- Improper use of restraints
- Sharing patient information without consent
- Failing to warn people about threats made against them by current patients, as required by law
- Prescribing a medication at too high of a dosage, causing the patient to suffer severe side effects, like suicidal thoughts or actions
If you are a victim of medication errors or other forms of medical malpractice, you could be entitled to compensation. The psychiatric malpractice attorneys in Cincinnati at our firm can review your situation in a free consultation. If you have a case, we are prepared to pursue all the compensation you are entitled.
What Are The Consequences Of Psychiatric Malpractice?
Patients dealing with mental health issues are already vulnerable, but psychiatric malpractice can make things even worse. Some of the consequences of psychiatric malpractice include:
- Attempting or committing suicide
- Physical injuries from abuse
- Worsening of depression or other mental health issues
- Increase in suicidal thoughts
- Increase in violent or aggressive actions
- Sexual dysfunction
- Increased manic episodes
- Trouble sleeping
- Memory problems
- Trouble breathing
The law allows you to pursue compensation for the side effects of psychiatric medical malpractice, including medical expenses, emotional pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of companionship.
You do not have to hire a lawyer but there are many advantages. The Cincinnati psychiatric malpractice attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy know how to build a strong case and determine the full value of your damages.
Do I Have A Case?
Your Cincinnati psychiatric malpractice attorney will need to prove malpractice occurred for you to have a chance of recovering compensation. There are five elements of malpractice that must be proven regardless of the specifics of your case:
- Doctor-patient relationship – This means you agreed to be treated by a psychiatrist or you were treated in the absence of an agreement. Our attorneys can use receipts, bills or treatment records to establish there was a doctor-patient relationship.
- Duty of care – This duty is created once a doctor-patient relationship has been established. The duty is a legal requirement for the psychiatrist to provide treatment that meets accepted standards in the medical community. The duty of care for your case depends on the specifics of your treatment and psychological issues you were dealing with.
- Breach of duty of care – Your psychiatric malpractice attorney in Cincinnati needs to provide evidence that the doctor who treated you did not meet accepted medical standards. For example, maybe we can prove the doctor should have prescribed you a different medication or done another type of treatment. In cases of suicide, our attorneys will review the psychiatrist’s assessment of the patient’s risk of suicide. In these cases, psychiatrists could breach the duty of care by failing to monitor the patient, document the second or third suicide risk assessment, or failing to notice signs the patient could be a risk to himself or herself.
- Link between breach of duty of care and harm – You need to establish a direct link between the failure to comply with accepted medical standards and the injuries you suffered. This is often difficult in psychiatric malpractice cases because your injuries may be emotional or mental rather than physical. For instance, it can be much more difficult to prove your depression got worse than to prove you suffered some type of physical injury.
- Existence of damages – This means your injuries created damages, like medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Our team will help you collect evidence to prove the value of all your damages.
The attorneys at our firm have a detailed understanding of the five elements of medical malpractice and how difficult it is to build a case. We are prepared to conduct a thorough investigation to collect the evidence we need to try to recover compensation.
Statute Of Limitations For Psychiatric Malpractice Cases
Like other medical malpractice claims, psychiatric malpractice claims are governed by a one-year statute of limitations (Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2305.113(A)). This means you have one year from the date malpractice occurred to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you lose the right to file a psychiatric malpractice lawsuit.
However, there are situations when patients do not immediately discover malpractice when it happens. For instance, patients may not realize they were misdiagnosed for weeks or months after it happens.
Under ORC 2305.113(D)(1), victims have one year from the date they discover or should have discovered malpractice to file a lawsuit. Courts will apply a reasonable care and diligence standard when determining when your statute of limitations began. In other words, the one-year statute of limitations begins to run when you should have discovered malpractice by exercising reasonable care and diligence.
However, ORC 2305.113(C)(1) says your claim cannot be filed more than four years after the alleged malpractice occurred, no matter when you should have discovered it.
It is often difficult to apply these laws to specific cases without the help of an attorney. The psychiatric malpractice lawyers in Cincinnati at our firm are well-versed in Ohio laws on medical malpractice statutes of limitations and how to apply them to your case. This will help us to file your case before the statute of limitations expires and you lose the right to pursue compensation.
Contact A Cincinnati Psychiatric Malpractice Attorney Right Away
If you or a loved one was treated by a psychiatrist and you think malpractice occurred that resulted in harm, you should contact an attorney to discuss the situation. You may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your damages.
The attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy understand how devastating psychiatric malpractice can be. It can put patients more at risk for suicide and a variety of other injuries that can negatively affect your life.
We offer a free, no obligation legal consultation and do not charge legal fees unless you recover fair compensation. Call a Cincinnati psychiatric malpractice lawyer today.