The Plaintiff’s Case in Psychiatric Malpractice

  • Robert L. Sadoff
Part of the Critical Issues in American Psychiatry and the Law book series (CIAP, volume 2)


Prior to discussing the plaintiff’s case in psychiatric malpractice, it would be helpful to present general concepts of malpractice and specifically malpractice issues that arise for psychiatrists. Malpractice is a concept that develops from a claim of negligence on the part of a professional who has a specific duty to another person who is damaged in some way by the professional’s negligence. In medicine, the physician has a particular duty to his patient. If the physician is negligent, or derelict in his duty, and the patient is damaged as a direct result of that negligence, the necessary four elements are present for a malpractice suit. I have elsewhere referred to these four elements as the four D’s.1 In psychiatric malpractice cases, the psychiatrist also has a specific duty to his patient that must not be breached or a malpractice suit may arise if damage occurs.


Expert Witness Defense Attorney Medical Malpractice Specific Duty Malpractice Suit 


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  1. 1.
    Sadoff, RL: Forensic Psychiatry: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Psychiatrists, Charles C Thomas, Springfield, IL, 1975, p. 205.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Sadoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Studies in Social-Legal Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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