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Mental Health Lawyers - Compensation & Negligence Claims

Medical negligence

Mental health negligence claims for mentally unwell patients 

If you or someone close has been failed by a healthcare provider when suffering from psychological mental health issues, and they have been injured as a result, a medical negligence claim for compensation can be brought. If you or someone close has been failed by a healthcare provider when suffering from mental health issues and have experienced injury you may be eligible for a mental negligence claim. Medical professionals have a duty of care and are required by law to treat mentally unwell patients with reasonable care and skill. When medical treatment is below a reasonable standard and this duty of care is breached resulting in a patient suffering a physical or psychiatric injury, this is considered medical negligence.

Do I have a mental health negligence claim?

To successfully claim compensation for an injury due to medical negligence in the treatment of mental health, it needs to be proven:

The patient was under the legal responsibility, or duty of care, of a healthcare provider. 

They received medical treatment which does not meet the reasonable standard expected in Australia.

This below-standard treatment causes physical injury or harm to the patient; if the patient passes away, suffering to their loved ones.

If you meet the above conditions, you may be eligible to claim compensation.

Statute of limitations apply for medical negligence claims and generally must be made within a three-year legal limit. Depending on the case and state it occurred in there, there are varying time limits. For example, three years may be from the date the medical negligence occurred or the date the negligence was learnt of.

If you believe you may have a mental health negligence claim, contacting our Medical Law team as soon as possible will ensure your claim is made within the relevant legal time limit. 

You may be entitled to claim compensation. Start the process with our simple and free online tool.

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What we will ask:

  • Question to help us understand your experience and how your life has been impacted. Your responses will help us define the best course of action for your claim.

What happens next:

  • Either book a no obligation appointment with a medical negligence legal expert right away or,

  • Speak with our team about your options

When is mental health treatment below a reasonable standard?

Whether treatment is off or below a reasonable standard depends on the specifics of a case — there’s no set definition of what is ‘reasonable’. An experienced medical negligence lawyer is best positioned to advise you as to whether certain treatments would fall below the expected standard. 

A medical negligence claim can’t be made based off below reasonable standard care alone — it must be proven the care resulted in injury or suffering. 

Generally, examples of medical treatment of mentally unwell patients below a reasonable standard include: 

  • Failing to recognise or investigate symptoms suggesting mental illness

  • Misdiagnosing a condition

  • Failing to properly supervise at-risk patients

  • Use of inappropriate treatment methods or medications

These circumstances can lead to patients suffering harm either in the care of a medical provider or upon being released.

The consequences of mental illness negligence: our clients' story

The Medical Law team is representing a family who lost their mother due to below reasonable standard treatment of her mental illness. When a loved one or family member is killed due to negligence, their spouse, children or other dependents may be able to make dependency claims. 

The mother had received past treatment for her mental health, but her well-being continued to decline. With the support of her family, she presented to a hospital emergency department. 

The treating doctor administered an antipsychotic medication and said the mother appeared settled. The family told the doctor that their mother typically reacted poorly to antipsychotic medication, with stronger hallucinations as the drugs wore off, and pleaded with the doctor to keep their mother overnight for observation. The mother was declared fit and discharged that day, to her family’s shock and concern. 

Once home, the mother’s hallucinations returned within hours, and she took her life the next day. Her family have been left devastated by this loss and her children are now navigating life without a mother. 

Now, Shine Lawyers Medical Law team are helping the family claim the compensation they need for support. Dependency claims like our clients’ are made for the loss of the deceased’s income, as well as their non-financial contributions to the family like housework.

What can I expect from the legal journey?

When considering a claim with the Medical Law team, we listen carefully to your story and then provide you with an assessment of all your available options. 

We are committed to ensuring you always understand your rights and the legal process. Working closely with you and your family, we want you to feel as if you have control over what can be a challenging time.

What can I claim compensation for?

The amount of compensation you can recover in a medical negligence claim relating to mental health treatment is not pre-determined. 

The compensation will depend on the significance of the suffering or injury. It is intended to restore the person claiming, to the fullest extent money allows, to the position he or she would be in if the suffering or injury had not occurred. It reflects the suffering or injury experienced by the person claiming, rather than the severity of negligence by the healthcare provider. 

Compensation is commonly granted for:

  • Specialist medical care and rehabilitation

  • Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life

  • Past and future loss of earnings

  • Care to meet injury-related needs

How Shine can help

We have helped thousands of Australians right wrong and access more than $1 billion per year in entitlements and compensation through our expert services. 

95% of the cases we represent are settled without the stress of going to court. 

We offer access to affordable legal advice including on a No Win, No Fee* basis and an obligation-free initial consultation so you can understand your rights and know where you stand. 

We are ready to take action, supporting your choice to hold negligent healthcare and medical partitioners to account and right wrong. 

*Conditions apply 


Can I represent myself, or do I need a medical malpractice lawyer?

It is possible to legally represent yourself when making a claim however, doing so successfully will likely require a thorough understanding of the law, your legal rights and entitlements, and a commitment to actively pursue the case to move it forward.   

Independent expert evidence is needed to progress your claim and this can be difficult for an individual to obtain. 

Without the right legal advice and support, you then may not receive the compensation you're entitled to.

Is there a medical negligence lawyer near me?

With more than 40 branches across Australia and 1000+ team members, location is no barrier when it comes to accessing Shine Lawyers legal advice and support 

If you’d like to speak to our Medical Negligence team in person, you can see our full list of locations here

If you aren‘t able to find a location near you, we can easily arrange an obligation-free virtual appointment or discuss the option to meet at a location that’s comfortable and convenient for you. No matter where you are located, we will always provide the same, expert advice and manage your claim with the same level of quality and commitment.

Why trust Shine to be my medical negligence lawyers?

At Shine Lawyers, we put your first. We’ve been standing up for the rights of everyday Australians for over 45 years. As one of Australia’s largest litigation law firms, we are here to help you get the justice you deserve. 

Our empathy, understanding and expertise is why we’re ahead of the pack. We’ll stand with you and guide you through every step of the way.

Do you have a claim?  

We’re here to make the claims process as simple and stress-free as possible.

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