Most people think of medical malpractice as involving a surgical mistake or misdiagnosis. However, residents of Chicago, Illinois, can suffer injuries from medical malpractice committed by their psychiatrists as well. There are a few things to know about filing a lawsuit against your psychiatrist for malpractice.

What are the elements of a medical malpractice case?

In order to have a valid claim for medical malpractice against a psychiatrist, certain elements must be in place. Because these claims can often be complex, it’s not always clear-cut knowing whether you can file. There must be an established relationship between the doctor and the patient. The psychiatrist must have breached their duty of providing reasonable care. In many cases, negligence is in place when the duty is breached. You must also prove that you have suffered an injury, whether that is physical or mental, and that the injury occurred as a direct result of the doctor’s negligence.

How can a psychiatrist commit medical malpractice?

There are many ways that a psychiatrist can commit medical malpractice. However, some ways are more common and are relevant to the relationship between the doctor and the patient.

When the psychiatrist has taken advantage of their position of power over a patient, such as overstepping their boundaries, there is cause for a medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, a doctor being inappropriate with a patient and manipulating or coercing them to engage in a sexual relationship gives cause for a malpractice claim.

There is also valid cause for a medical malpractice claim against a psychiatrist if the doctor improperly prescribed medication to a patient. For example, if a patient had a drug addiction and the doctor knew it but prescribed something the person didn’t need knowing that it would be addictive, the patient could sue.

Psychiatrists also have third-party liability if they know that a patient is dangerous enough to commit a serious crime such as murder. While there is doctor-patient privilege, psychiatrists have a duty to report to the police if they believe that a patient plans to kill someone. If they fail to do that and the patient carries out that plan, the victim’s surviving family members could file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor.

Psychiatrists have an obligation to provide a reasonable level of care to patients. If they don’t do that and damages or injuries occur, the patient may have a valid claim to file a malpractice suit.

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