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What Does Medical Malpractice Look Like in Mental Health Cases?


When you think of medical malpractice, odds are that your mind goes instantly to the hospital. You might think of horror stories you’ve heard about pieces of equipment being left in a patient during surgery or a wrong diagnosis leading to a major medical catastrophe. However, the medical field does not cover only the physical body, but the mind as well.

Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in emotional and mental health. An act of medical malpractice in the field of mental health should be taken just as seriously as malpractice that affects a patient’s physical well-being.

Acts of Medical Malpractice


In some cases, these acts of medical malpractice can look a lot like those in other fields of medicine. After all, the responsibilities and expectations are the same. Therefore, the scene of malpractice will take on the same pattern of:

  • The psychiatrist had a responsibility to the patient.
  • The psychiatrist breached this duty in some way.
  • As a result, this breach directly led to someone’s harm or injury.

Some examples could be:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • The wrong dosage of medication
  • Negligence in reporting that a person might be a threat to himself or others
  • An intentional infliction of distress
  • Abuse of power
  • Abuse of the patient’s vulnerable state
  • Disclosing private information to an outside source

What You Should Know


As mentioned before, medical negligence of the mind is really not much different than negligence of the physical body. It would be legally handled as a medical malpractice case. If you have been injured as the direct result of this form of negligence, there are a few things you should know.

  • The statute of limitations exists on medical malpractice lawsuits, and this type is no exception. In the state of Indiana, the statute of limitations is around 2 years. Because of this, it is important that if you plan to seek compensation for these injuries, you begin as soon as possible because these cases are rarely extended past this two year line unless you can prove that the symptoms took that long to appear.
  • You must be sure to give notice to the psychiatrist involved before you file the case
  • You must submit the proposed case to a review panel or to a medical expert witness.
  • You are typically required to have an expert witness testify for you during the process of the case in order to explain the situation and determine where the fault was in the matter.

The mind is no less important than the rest of the body. At Hensley Legal Group, we want to fight in order to get the compensation you deserve for the mental pain you had to endure. Call us today for a free consultation or contact us online.