Danbury Psychiatric Malpractice Lawyer

Mental health care professionals provide extremely valuable services to patients. Unfortunately, not all providers act as they should. Negligent actions or mistakes during a patient’s treatment can have serious consequences. In the most extreme cases, a mental health professional’s failure to adhere to professional standards can result in severe harm or even death.

If you or a loved one were the victim of negligence by a mental health professional, you should speak with a Danbury psychiatric malpractice lawyer right away to discuss your legal options. The medical malpractice team at Berkowitz Hanna has extensive experience handling cases like yours, and we are prepared to fight for what you deserve.

Standard of Care in Psychiatric Malpractice Claims

Most Danbury psychiatric malpractice claims will hinge on whether a lawyer can prove the mental health professional was negligent. To prove a psychiatrist was negligent, the plaintiff must first establish that the medical professional breached a duty of care.

The state outlines the standard to evaluate medical provider negligence in Connecticut General Statute § 52-184c. For civil actions alleging injury from a medical provider’s negligence, a plaintiff must provide enough evidence to prove that the mental health professional’s allegedly negligent actions breached the generally accepted standard of care for professionals in that field.

More specifically, the law states that the medical professional’s actions must adhere to a standard of care used by a reasonably prudent health care provider.

Proving that a mental health care professional will depend on the specific facts of the case. Some common actions that could give rise to a psychiatric malpractice claim include:

Failing to take adequate action to prevent a patient’s suicide could also invoke psychiatrist liability. Psychiatrists have a duty under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-146f(2) to disclose when there is a significant risk of imminent physical injury by the patient to themselves or others.

Potential Limitations on Damages

If a plaintiff (and their attorney) can prove that a psychiatrist is guilty of malpractice in Danbury, they can pursue both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages can include either economic damages, such as medical bills or lost wages, and noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or a lost ability to enjoy one’s life.

The state also allows a plaintiff to recover punitive damages in situations where a defendant acted with reckless disregard or intentionally violated another’s rights during the alleged malpractice. However, Connecticut limits punitive damages to the recovery of attorney’s fees and other litigations expenses.

Comparative Negligence in Psychiatry Malpractice Cases

Additionally, the victim’s own negligence could hurt their ability to recover damages. For example, a court could deem that a psychiatric patient contributed negligence if they failed to follow the doctor’s instructions or delayed reporting a medical issue.

According to the Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-572h(b), the state adheres to the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. The rule states that plaintiffs can only recover damages if their own negligence did not exceed the defendant’s negligence.

This means that a victim is completely prohibited from recovering damages if they were 51 percent or more negligent in the incident. If the plaintiff is at 50 percent or below, the court will reduce the damages proportionately with the plaintiff’s percentage of responsibility. A Danbury psychiatry malpractice attorney can explain the state’s comparative negligence rules in more detail during an initial consultation.

Procedural Requirements for Malpractice Lawsuits

A complaint alleging psychiatric malpractice must include a certificate of reasonable inquiry or a court could dismiss the action, under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-190a. The certificate is a signed opinion from a licensed medical professional which certifies that there is sufficient evidence of negligence in the client’s case. The medical expert must include details about how they reached that conclusion. To qualify as an expert, the medical practitioner must work in a similar health care field or have sufficient training and knowledge to qualify as an expert in the court’s view.

Additionally, clients must file a lawsuit for any medical malpractice lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations. Since these deadlines vary by legal action, Danbury clients should not delay speaking with a Berkowitz Hanna lawyer about their psychiatric malpractice case.

Contact a Danbury Lawyer About Suspected Psychiatric Malpractice

If you suspect a mental health professional was negligent, please contact a Danbury psychiatric malpractice lawyer. An attorney is ready to consult with you about the specific facts of your case and the best strategy for your claim.

Our dedicated team at Berkowitz Hanna can speak with you about the necessary evidence to pursue your claim, such as expert medical testimony.