If you or a loved one have been the victim of a medical mistake by a psychiatrist or a psychologist in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and in some instances wrongful death. Our firm works with experienced psychiatric medical malpractice lawyers and there is no fee until you obtain a settlement or award. Feel free to call us toll free 24/7 or contact us online for a free, no obligation, legal consultation.

A woman on a couch talking to a psychiatrist.

Were You the Victim of Psychiatric Medical Malpractice?
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About Psychiatric Medical Malpractice:

The relationship between a psychiatrist and their patient is one of the most intimate and deeply personal in the medical field. Because of the intensity of these relationships, any type of error or mistreatment can carry powerful negative consequences.

Mental health professionals, like doctors, owe a duty to provide a certain standard of care which assures that the patient is receiving appropriate and favorable treatment. Like any other medical professional, psychiatrists may be liable for medical malpractice in the event that they cause harm to a patient. However, it is important to know that there is a significant difference between feeling as though you have been wronged or mistreated by your psychiatrist and a valid psychiatric malpractice claim. There are certain elements that need to be present in order for there to be a viable psychiatric medical malpractice claim.

The Elements Necessary for Establishing a Claim:

A psychiatrist speaks to his client during a session.
  1. Psychiatrist (Doctor)/Patient Relationship – There needs to be a doctor patient relationship in existence. This will show that there was an established duty of care.
  2. Breach of the Duty of Care – The psychiatrist has to have breached the reasonable duty of care that was owed to the patient. You need to show that the doctor acted negligently or that they were outside the limits of their professional responsibilities.
  3. Harm – The patient must have suffered some type of harm. This harm can come in many different forms such as; emotional injury, memory loss, aggravation to their condition, or physical injury.
  4. Causal Link – There must be a causal link or connection between the breach of the duty of care and the injury suffered by the patient. The wrongful act or negligence on behalf of the psychiatrist must be shown to have been the cause of you or your loved one’s injuries.

Types of Psychiatric Medical Malpractice:

There are many different forms that this type of malpractice may come in. Some examples of the types of Psychiatric Medical Malpractice someone may experience are:

  • Failure to properly diagnose the patient
  • Failure to supervise a patient (Suicidal Patient)
  • Lack of informed consent (for eg- Medication)
  • Emotional/Physical Abuse
  • Failure to Prevent harm
  • Breach of Privacy
  • Sexual Relations with a patient
Medication errors caused by a doctor.

These types of malpractice are particularly relevant to the relationship between a psychiatrist and their patient. A psychiatric medical malpractice lawsuit may arise from any of those situations if all the necessary elements are met. Unfortunately, many of these cases will go unreported because the victims are already unstable mentally or uncertain of their own medical condition. They often believe that if they report the situation their complaints will not be taken seriously, or they may be dismissed as paranoia. It is important to make sure that you have an attorney experienced in these particular cases handling your lawsuit to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Psychiatric Medical Malpractice and Suicide (Negligence):

A sad woman seeking a medical malpractice lawyer.

Nearly one third of the United States population have suicidal thoughts at some point. Although most of them will not act on these thoughts, about 51% of psychiatrists report that they have had a patient who committed suicide. Suicide related lawsuits account for the majority of psychiatric malpractice suits. In cases of suicidal patients, the standard of care would require the psychiatrist to use reasonable care in preventing their patient from self-inflicted injury. In establishing that there is a connection between the duty of care that is owed and the injury, it need only be reasonably foreseeable by the psychiatrist that the patient could inflict injury on themselves. It is not a matter of whether they can predict their patient will commit suicide. When dealing with the notion of foreseeability in suicide malpractice cases it is important to look at the risk factors for suicide. The risk factors would include:

  • Is there a history of suicide attempts by the patient?
  • Was the attempt close to lethal?
  • Is there a family history of suicidal thoughts, or suicide attempts?
Psychiatric Therapy session

When a patient is showing a high probability of suicide it is the psychiatrist’s duty to react. There may be an issue of malpractice if the psychiatrist acts negligently. To decrease the risk of suicide and a resulting malpractice claim a psychiatrist should make sure to: conduct an evaluation, consider hospitalization, do an assessment of the risk of suicide and document attempts, and finally design a treatment plan. If you or a loved one believe you are the victim of psychiatric medical malpractice it is crucial that you contact an experienced Psychiatric Medical Malpractice attorney.

Different Forms of Compensation for Harm Caused:

There are different types of compensation that may be sought in these cases. The goal is to make sure that the injured party receives the justice that they deserve for the suffering that they endured, as well as their losses. If you have been injured by this type of malpractice you may have the right to compensation for medical expenses, any lost income or earning ability, as well as pain and suffering. You should speak with a Psychiatric Medical Malpractice attorney about your legal rights and options.

Are you a victim of Psychiatric Medical Malpractice?

A personal injury lawyer is discussing a case with his two clients.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of Psychiatric Medical Malpractice in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at d’Oliveira and Associates have many years of experience dealing with personal injury cases, and we are working alongside experienced Psychiatric Medical Malpractice attorneys who can file a claim on your behalf. Please contact our toll free number at 1-800-992-6878, or fill out an online contact form for a free legal consultation. There are no legal fees until you receive a settlement or award.


  • (i) Liability in Patient Suicide
  • (ii) What is Psychiatric Medical Malpractice
  • (iii) Psychiatric Malpractice
  • (iv) General and Forensic Psychiatry