Negligent Injuries of Psychiatric Patients
Mental illness affects one in four of us in our lifetime. People who are in such vulnerable positions need to be looked after properly. Thankfully, in most cases, that is exactly what happens. However, sometimes medical professionals make errors in the treatment of mental health patients, potentially with tragic consequences.
We have experience in dealing sensitively with claims by mental health patients and their families. We have relationships with the best experts in the field of medical negligence law, so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Negligent treatment of psychiatric patients can include:
- Failure to provide adequate supervision in hospital – e.g. failing to put a patient on 1-to-1 supervision
- Failure to place the patient in safe environment – e.g. to ensure all ligature points are removed from a ward/bedroom
- Failure to properly supervise patients with mental health issues in the community
- Failure to detain patients under the Mental Health Act 1983 when they need to be detained for their safety or the safety of others
- Misdiagnosis of mental health and psychological problems, such as diagnosing as a different illness
- Delayed diagnosis of mental health issues
- Failure to act on results of investigations and allowing the patient’s condition to worsen due to lack of treatment
- Negligent harm caused to family members by undiagnosed/untreated/unsupervised patients who should have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983
"I could not be more grateful to all at Hodge Jones and Allen for the tenacity they showed in pursuing my case, and for their impeccable service and legal excellence throughout the years my case took to resolve. They turned a horrific injustice in my life into an event which I can look back on and feel positive and thankful that the right outcome was reached; and justice was achieved."
Why choose Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors?
With over four decades’ experience, we have assisted many families in representing their interests at courts throughout the UK, as well supporting bereaved families at inquests following avoidable suicide of mental health patients.
Our solicitors are experts at guiding you and representing your interests during the internal investigation process and in relation to compensation claims. The earlier we are instructed on a case, the better we can assist you to secure justice for you or your loved one.
In some cases, the injured party may not have the requisite mental capacity to bring court proceedings themselves and we can advise on the appointment of a litigation friend.
Equally, at the conclusion of the care, if the injured party does not have the capacity to manage their finances then we can advise on the appointment of a deputy (a solicitor who manages the injured party’s finances under the supervision of the Court of Protection).
At Hodge, Jones & Allen, our solicitors handle these very sensitive claims in a sympathetic and effective manner.
The majority of our medical negligence claims are also funded by ‘Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) – also known as “No Win, No Fee” agreements. This means that you will not have to pay anything at the outset, and there is no financial risk or obligation to you if your claim is unsuccessful. Your solicitor will provide clear information on what this means and answer any questions you may have.
What do you need to prove?
To make a claim, you will need to prove two things:
- That there was a breach of duty
- Establishing causation
To establish there has been a breach of duty you will need to show that the medical treatment you received from the psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse fell below a reasonable standard.
To establish causation, you will need to show that the breach of duty directly caused you or a loved one to suffer a physical or psychiatric injury that would not have otherwise happened. It is essential to establish this link otherwise your claim will not succeed. You will then have to prove the extent of your losses and damage.
Causation can be a very complex issue as it may be difficult to know whether the mistake caused the injury, or whether the injury was caused by some other underlying problem and would have occurred irrespective of the mistake.
Denied admission to a mental health unit
A mother committed suicide after being denied admission into a mental health unit. A week-long inquest established supervision and training issues that were the subject of a coroner’s recommendation. We secured a settlement of £300,000 for her dependents.
"They were unfailingly kind, truthful and very supportive in what was an emotional and very difficult time. They gave me hope when others had not and I felt that it was no longer just me against Goliath."