How to Sue a Mental Health Facility?
Asking for help regarding mental health is difficult for many in the first place. Moreover, the situation worsens when the patient receives more emotional and physical damage instead of getting cured. Many even don’t know that they can have a case against the facility.
So, how to sue a mental health facility? You need to prove that the mental health facility breached its responsibilities, which caused emotional or physical harm to you.
Although it sounds very straightforward, many people do not even know why and how to sue that facility. Besides, it is not easy at all! Hence, we are here for you! We will go over several malpractices that you can sue such a facility for and how. Let’s get started.
Why Should You Sue a Mental Health Facility?
A mental health facility can be sued if you can prove clinical negligence against it. Clinical negligence refers to the irresponsibility, unethical act, or wrong treatment of the facility or a professional that causes harm to you. You can sue them even if one of your family members gets harmed.
If you can prove clinical negligence against them, you will get compensation for the damage you have faced. But proving such a complaint can be really tough for mass people. So, you should consult a good lawyer before making a complaint.
When Can You Sue a Mental Health Facility?
You can sue any private or NHS facility if the following malpractices happen during your treatment.
- Personnel with Improper Training
When a psychiatrist tries to treat a patient without proper training, it will be considered malpractice. This mostly happens when psychiatrists implement new treatments on patients. In that case, you can sue the facility and claim compensation.
- Wrong Treatment Models
During mental health treatment, a facility should go through certain steps. From following the general rule to having the consent of their patients, many things need to be maintained carefully. And if the facility doesn’t practice that properly, you have a cause to sue it.
- Wrong Diagnosis
If the facility misdiagnoses a patient and that causes any harm to the patient, the facility should be sued. The patient needs to prove what harm has been done to them during the trial.
- Not Following Procedure
Obtaining the medical history of the patient is vital in mental health treatments. If the facility fails to do that and a wrong treatment follows, the facility will be responsible for the damage the patient faces. And the patient can sue the facility.
- Unethical Relationships
Any psychiatrist in the facility should never engage in an inappropriate relationship with the patient. The professional relationship between the psychiatrist and the patient should be strictly maintained. If a psychiatrist goes beyond that, he or she can be sued for malpractice.
What Is the Outcome of Suing a Mental Health Facility?
You should remember that making a formal complaint against the facility or an individual and suing them is completely different. When you make a complaint against an individual or an organization, you might get an apology or disciplinary action against them.
But suing them will only result in financial compensation. You will get a certain amount based on the trial for the damage caused by the person or the facility.
How to Sue a Mental Health Facility?
If you are emotionally or physically harmed by a mental health facility, you need to follow the Civil Procedure Rules to sue them. It requires you to go through multiple steps. Check them below.
- Requesting medical records is the first step. You should write a letter to the mental health facility to provide your medical records with other necessary information.
- Consult your solicitor to figure out whether you have a case. Once they are convinced, they will send a legal notice to the facility about the damage incurred and the loss you suffered.
- The facility will have four months to get back to you or your solicitor. In the meantime, you don’t have to go to court. Chances are the facility will come up with a settlement offer. Or, you can make a settlement offer after they contact you.
- If you accept their settlement offer or they accept yours, the case won’t go to court. But if none of the parties is agreed to a settlement offer, you can go to court now.
How to Prove Clinical Negligence?
Once your case goes to court, you need to prove four things before the court. They are as follows.
- A psychiatrist-patient relationship. It is a must to prove that the individual or organization was responsible for the care of the patient during the treatment.
- Breach of the duty of care. You need to prove that the doctor or the organization knowingly or unknowingly ignored the duty while treating the patient.
- Physical or emotional harm to the patient. You need to submit the records of your mental, physical, and financial loss due to the damage caused by the facility.
- A direct link between the damage and the breach. You must undoubtedly prove the link between these two incidents.
Is There Any Time Limit to Sue a Mental Health Facility?
A clinical negligence claim should be made within three years of the treatment. If you fail to claim negligence within this time, you can also claim within three years of realizing the treatment caused your damage.
In many cases, you might not realize the negligence then and then. And your mental capacity might not be fit for making a claim at that moment. So, you need to make the claim within three years.
Wrong treatment regarding mental health can lead to serious damage, both mentally and physically. A patient has the legal right to sue a mental health facility if he or she has proof of clinical negligence. But many might not clearly know how to sue a mental health facility.
We discussed everything in detail so that you know the process thoroughly and can collect all the relevant proofs to make a good case in court. And if you can prove the negligence in court, you will get financial compensation from the facility depending on the intensity of the damage incurred.