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Jennifer L. Piel

and Phillip J. Resnick

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date: 28 September 2020

A lawsuit for professional malpractice is an occupational hazard feared by many psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors in the mental health field. Most actions against mental health clinicians are based on the concept of negligence. Medical negligence occurs when health care professionals fail to adhere to the standard of professional care, resulting in harm to a patient. Mental health professionals may also face legal action for certain intentional actions that cause injury to a patient. This chapter reviews the core legal concepts underlying malpractice claims against mental health clinicians. Presented here are the topics that are most likely to be the basis of liability suits against mental health providers. The chapter concludes with some strategies that mental health professionals can use to reduce the risk of malpractice liability.

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