Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Counselors
We have handled a number of claims involving health-care professionals, including claims brought by patients as well as affiliated hospitals and clinics. These claims are highly specialized, and involve a number of unique legal issues as well as damage claims that are specific to this kind of litigation.
Our experience in litigation of claims involving mental health practitioners includes:
- Sexual abuse of patients
- Chemical battery and poisoning claims
- Medical fraud claims
- Assault and battery claims generally
- “Psychological rape” cases not involving physical contact
- Implanted memory cases
- Misdiagnosis and failure to refer for medical treatment
- Financial abuse claims
- Insurance fraud claims
- Conflict of interest claims
- Undue influence claims
- Alienation of affection cases
- Misadministration of medication
The psychology of psychiatric malpractice litigation
These claims often involve patients who have formed relationships with their doctor or counselor that has become completely unique among human relationships. Patients come to relate to their counselors and mental health practitioners in a way that opens the door to great vulnerability, and when the patient perceives that there has been a betrayal of that trust—whether or not there has in fact been—the patient’s sense of reality becomes distorted.
The influence of psychiatric drugs in litigation
Psychiatrists particularly hold power over patients, due in no small degree to the fact that they prescribe mind-altering drugs known as psychopharmaceuticals. These drugs affect the chemistry of the brain in a manner that can lead to the exhibition of extreme symptoms upon discontinuation. These drugs, especially anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs, can produce powerful physical dependency. For this reason, psychiatric malpractice cases—particularly those that involve the use of psychiatric medications—often overlap with drug litigation issues.