Psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and mental health professionals have incredibly important jobs and functions in society. Individuals in need of mental health services seek out treatment to medical professionals to assist with behavioral changes, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other behavioral therapy needs.
While the vast majority of psychotherapists are exemplary in their professional conduct and approach to treating mental health, there are a handful of therapists that may use their position of power to psychologically or physically abuse their patients.
After a traumatic experience occurs, the last thing one expects is to be abused by a professional in a position that is intended to help a patient. If you or a family member believe that a psychotherapist or behavioral health professional has emotionally or physically abused you, our Minnesota psychotherapist abuse attorneys are here to help those in need.
Why Choose Us?
At Hall Law, P.A. our team of Minneapolis personal injury lawyers have decades of legal experience assisting those that have suffered injury, negligence and malicious intent from others. Our firm has an excellent reputation in Minnesota and our verdicts and settlements speak volumes about our results. The attorneys at our firm have helped recover several multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, including a verdict that exceeded eight figures. The largest verdict in St Cloud, MN history, was recovered by Hall Law, P.A.
In addition, the proven results of our lawyers help our clients by:
- Our lawyers prepare all cases with the intent of going to trial. This approach helps form convincing and persuasive arguments. This leads to an aggressive negotiation and can lead to higher compensation for our clients.
- The Minneapolis lawyers at our law firm always charge on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay nothing out of pocket if the case is unsuccessful, and our firm only recovers damages if a settlement or successful verdict is reached. Simply put – no win, no fee.
How Can a Psychotherapist Abuse Lawyer Help?
A psychotherapist abuse lawyer can provide you with legal counsel in your case and can help you understand your legal rights. They have a thorough understanding of the laws related to psychotherapist abuse, the evidence it will take to prove your case, and which statute of limitations apply. It can be intimidating to go up against a therapist whom you may have known for years, but an attorney can advocate on your behalf and ensure you get the justice you deserve.
They will assist you from the beginning to the end, including filing your lawsuit, investigating your claim, gathering evidence to prove boundary violations, speaking to eyewitnesses, hiring a forensic expert who specializes in therapist abuse, and representing you at trial if necessary. Because victims of abuse can remain silent for a very long time, it can be challenging to remember details, locate witnesses, obtain copies of medical records and the psychotherapist’s notes, etc. Your attorney will work closely with you to develop a case and meet deadlines. They will also help you identify other parties that are also potentially liable, increasing the likelihood that you will receive fair compensation. Many victims worry about the cost of hiring an attorney, but fortunately, most will take psychotherapist abuse cases on a contingency fee basis. That means there are no upfront costs, and you only pay legal fees if you win.
What are Some of the Warning Signs of Therapist Abuse?
There are some common warning signs associated with therapist abuse. Cases involving therapist abuse generally grow over time and may begin with compliments. Common warning signs can include:
- Therapist Discloses Confidential Information – This is an immediate red flag as therapists are required to keep most information confidential, with the exception of cases that involve duty to warn. If a therapist gives out personal information regarding another patient of theirs, they may also be sharing confidential information about your person to others. If you believe that a therapist is disclosing confidential information, raise your concern with the medical professional and alert the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
- Lack of Empathy – Empathy is one of the many important components of a mental health professional. A good psychotherapist will empathize with their patients and have the capacity to understand the emotional trauma they are going through. If you feel the psychotherapist lacks empathy, a patient should look for a different therapist that embodies this characteristic.
- Excessive Communication by Psychotherapist – Communication between a medical professional and a patient is necessary to coordinate and facilitate therapy. However, if there are excessive amounts of communication that do not pertain to psychotherapy sessions, this can be a warning sign. Communication should be limited to a professional dialogue and any attempt to meet outside of normal business hours can be a cause for concern.
- Exhibiting Demeaning Behavior – If a therapist engages in behavior that is demeaning, manipulative, humiliating or degrading a patient should terminate the therapist/patient relationship and find a new therapist.
- Inappropriate Touching and/or Sexual Advances – Sitting too close to a patient, touching and making sexual advances are indicative of abuse perpetrated by a therapist. Sexual advances from a therapist towards a patient is grounds for serious penalties including criminal, civil and can lead to a therapist losing their license.
What Is The Statute of Limitations For Survivors of Abuse?
The statute of limitations is a law set by the state that dictates the amount of time a survivor of abuse has to initiate legal action. In cases involving psychologist and therapist abuse, the statute of limitations can be extraordinarily complex since different statute of limitations laws may apply. For example, therapist or psychologist abuse can fall under medical malpractice, which in Minnesota, victims have four years from the date the alleged malpractice caused some damage to the patient. If the patient is a minor, the law extends this time limit by no more than seven years or one year after their 18th birthday.
If sexual abuse by a psychologist or therapist occurred, the statute of limitations are as follows:
- Childhood sexual abuse (if under 24 years old on or after 5/23/2013): no statute of limitation,
- Adult sexual abuse: six years, and
- Vicarious liability of an organization (such as a church, school, club, employer): before the victim’s 24th birthday.
If the abuse occurred by an on-site psychologist or therapist while at work, you may also have a sexual harassment lawsuit under federal law. In these cases, a complaint (or charge) must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the abuse.
A primary issue in filing a lawsuit on time against a psychologist or therapist for abuse is that victims may not always immediately realize abuse has occurred or may take years to build up the courage to bring a case. Therefore, it is always best to consult an attorney right away to discuss your legal options.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Therapist Abuse Case?
Cases involving therapist abuse are typically complex in nature. Cases against a therapist may involve civil damages, criminal claims and/or licensing boards. An attorney with experience working with these different entities will be instrumental in a legal case. If you have suffered therapist abuse, contact our attorneys to see how we can help.
Our attorneys can help victims of psychological abuse recover damages including:
- Past, ongoing and future medical costs associated with pain, suffering and emotional distress
- Past and future wage loss
- Punitive damages
If you or a loved one have suffered physical or emotional abuse from a psychotherapist, please know that there is help available. Our attorneys have helped injured victims and their families hold those responsible, accountable for their actions. Our firm helps pursue damages for those that have suffered psychotherapist abuse to help offset the damage that has been done to the patient.