What Are Medical Negligence Mental Health Claims?
Medical negligence mental health claims refers to a situation where an individual (either a patient or a loved one) takes legal action against his or her healthcare provider for failing to provide the right standard of care which has resulted in harm, pain, suffering or other complications which could have been well prevented if they fulfilled their duty of care towards the patient.
People who have mental health challenges are vulnerable and therefore require special care and treatment so that they do not harm themselves or are exposed to harm by others. After an investigation by The Guardian in 2018, the NHS is set to conduct a research into incidences of poor care of mental health patients in the UK.
It has been discovered that NHS mental health services are chronically underfunded and understaffed despite funding commitments from the government. This has not helped the patients in any way who do not get the level of care and support they need both in health centers and in the communities. When mental health patients are not well cared for and monitored, avoidable harm can occur.
Healthcare professionals have an obligation to ensure that patients with mental health issues get reasonable standards of care as accepted by global best health practices. This is the duty of care they owe their patients and when they provide sub-standard care resulting in either physical or psychiatric injury of the patient, we can say that medical negligence has occurred.
Therefore, if you or your loved one suffering from mental health issues did not receive the right standard of care resulting in injury or other health complications while at any of the NHS hospitals, you may sue the NHS for mental health medical negligence.
What Type Of Medical Negligence Mental Health Claims Can I Make?
There are several claims you can make that border on mental health. These may include:
- Personal injury claim for depression
- Suing the NHS or suing a hospital for emotional distress
- Personal injury mental health claims
- Personal injury claim for psychological damage
- Claiming compensation for stress and anxiety
Different Categories Of Persons We Have Represented In Medical Negligence Mental Health Claims
Over the years, our solicitors have represented different individuals who have suffered life-altering injuries as a result of being negligently treatment and poorly monitored.
- Patients who escaped from poorly secured mental health facilities when they there supposed to be detained under the Mental Health Act
- Patients under Community Treatment Orders (CTO)
- Patients being managed in the community by mental health teams when they should have been referred to specialists
- Patients with suicidal thoughts and other depressive illnesses and managed by general practitioners in primary health care centres rather than by specialists in specialized mental health facilities
What Constitutes Mental Health Medical Negligence?
There are various actions by medical professionals in the mental health field that could be seen as negligent and for which an individual can make claims. These include:
- Failure of mental health care providers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their patients Understaffing
- Failure to detain a patient for assessment according to the stipulations of the Mental Health Act 1983
- Poorly secured environment which makes it easy for patients who should be detained to abscond
- Failure to ensure that the environment is safe for patients
- Unnecessary delays in referring patients to a specialist for proper mental health treatment
- Misdiagnosis of mental health issues as other ailments
- Failing to diagnose or investigate a mental illness
- Failing to ensure that patients with suicidal thoughts are closely monitored
- Errors in medication prescription and dosage administration
- Causing a patient to suffer a trauma leading to a psychiatric issue
- Discharging a patient too soon from the mental health care facility
- Use of unnecessary force and other forms of physical abuse on a mental health patient
- Use of inappropriate drugs or treatment methods
- Failing to monitor the progress or otherwise of a patient after being discharged
How Do I Prove My Medical Negligence Mental Health Claim?
Before you make a claim, it is important for you to know if you actually have a mental health claim. Before a claim can be made, it must fulfil the four parts of medical negligence which are:
- Direct Causation
Therefore, you need to show that the patient was under the legal responsibility of the medical professional.
- You need to demonstrate that the healthcare provider owed the patient a duty of care.
- Furthermore, it needs to be proven that the healthcare provider failed in his duty of care towards the patient by failing to give appropriate and reasonable standard of care as expected from a medical professional given the circumstances.
- It has to be established that the substandard care directly resulted in the physical injury, further medical/psychiatric issues or even death of the patient plunging the loved ones to grief and emotional distress.
- Additionally, showing the extent of other damages both physically, emotionally, socially, financially and otherwise will further strengthen your case and brighten your chances of winning the case.
It is very important to note that just because a treatment is below standard is not enough to make a claim. It is important to show that negligent care resulted in injury, harm, suffering or complications.
There are several documents which you will definitely need to back up your claims. these include
- Your full and comprehensive statements
- Eye witness statements (can be from family or friends)
- Medical report and results of tests and scans
- Photographs or images
- Report from a different medical expert after thorough medical examination.
We will ensure that you are able to access and provide these documents as well as provide for you a medical expert who will perform the examination on the patient.
Suing For Emotional Distress
Emotional distress refers to when a person is made to suffer mental anguish as a result of a traumatic incident, medical negligence or death of a loved one.
A person may become a mental health patient as a result of emotional distress caused by negligence of a medical professional. Relatives and loved ones of a patient who died wrongfully as a result of medical negligence may also suffer emotional distress and can make claims against the healthcare provider or hospital involved.
As long as you are able to provide proof establishing liability and causation, you can successfully make a claim and be awarded compensation for emotional distress in the UK.
What Can Cause Emotional Distress?
Various factors which may cause an individual to suffer emotional sisters include-
- Misdiagnosis a patient’s illness
- Medical negligence leading to death of a loved one (wrongful death)
- Wrongful birth
- Complications to a patient’s health as a result of negligent treatment
Can You Claim For Depression?
Yes, you can claim for depression if the actions of your healthcare provider or the hospital where you are receiving care were negligent and fell below acceptable standards causing you to become depressed.
What Can I Claim For Mental Health?
There are two broad categories of damages you can claim while making medical negligence mental health claims. These are:
General Damages- where you can make claims for the severity of pain, suffering, trauma and damage caused by the medical negligence.
Special Damages- this refers to claims that are peculiar to the case at hand. They include financial losses incurred, special treatment needed for the patient, estimated time for recovery (future prognosis), loss of earnings, inheritance and other estimated future financial losses. It also takes into account the costs of purchasing special equipment and aids as well as housing adjustments to suit the new condition.
Additionally, loved ones of a patient who died as a result of medical negligence can make dependency claims for the loss of the deceased’s income, loss of special care and attention including loss of dependency on other non-financial contributions and services.
Mental Health Compensation Calculator
There is no fixed compensation amount for mental health claims. This is because each medical negligence claim is different from the other in terms of specifics and circumstance. Each case therefore has to be treated differently.
This is why we employ our medical negligence solicitor’s calculator to give you a realistic idea of what you can get for your mental health compensation claims, compensation for stress and anxiety in the UK, care home neglect compensation or compensation for emotional distress in the UK.
How Can We Help?
Our medical negligence specialists have many years of experience dealing with clients who have made different mental health claims. We ensure that you have the best of legal representation and put together all the facts needed to build a strong and successful case.
Our lawyers have many years of experience under their belt and have accreditations with relevant legal associations such as the Action against Medical Accident (AvMA) and the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel and have secured best possible settlement payouts for our clients.
Our lawyers are very friendly, understanding, professional and dedicated to duty. Our consultation sessions are free of charge; we also offer you a free claims assessment.
No Win No Fee Policy
Additionally, our services are on a No Win No Fee Bass which means you do not have to pay any upfront legal fees. It also means that you are also protected from paying any fees even if the case is not successful.
We will however take a success fee of 25% from your compensation award after a successful claim.
How Long Do I Have To Make My Claims?
According to the limitation act of 1980, you will be allowed a limitation period of 3 years from the date of the medical negligence or when you first became aware of it to make a claim.
In cases like this which involve mentally unstable persons, the time frame for making claims may be relaxed as a result of the patient’s condition. However, a litigation friend (a loved one) can make claims on their behalf. According to the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, you can make claims for one who is mentally unable to make claims.
In the unfortunate incident that the patient dies as a result of negligence, the loved ones also have three years from the date of death to make claims.
Claims can be made by:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s civil partner
- Children of the deceased including adopted children and legal step-children
- The deceased parents and any other member of the family
- Representatives of the deceased's Estate
A person’s mental health is as important as his physical health and should be cared for adequately. If for any reason a person is admitted as a result of mental health issues, the healthcare providers owe such a person the responsibility to care for him or her and ensure that they get the best possible form of care. If the medical professionals become negligent in their duty, it could cause harm for the patient, other patients, injury or further psychiatric issues.
When this happens, you can reach out to us to make claims on your behalf. You can fill out our online free claims assessment form and one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors will contact you to set up a meeting at your convenience and discuss your claims.