Can I sue my child’s therapist for malpractice?

If you or a loved one has experienced injury due to the care provided by a psychologist, you could be entitled to compensation for the associated costs and damages. 

Children are minors, so their parents are responsible for bringing claims on their behalf if they are injured. 

Today, we’ll explore therapist malpractice. From there, contact an experienced personal injury attorney from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates to review your medical malpractice case. 

therapist malpractice

Negligent vs. intentional acts

When you trust a medical expert to provide you with care, you are acknowledging that they have a duty to provide you with care that meets a standard. 

This is known as the “standard of care,” and it’s something that medical professionals, including psychologists, are required to follow. The standard of care is the level of quality for a procedure that a similarly qualified expert in the field would provide.

What is most important to understand is that negligence often applies to a mistake. When a medical mistake happens, medical malpractice insurance will often be responsible for compensating you for your injuries. Medical professionals like doctors or psychologists must carry medical malpractice insurance to hold their professional licenses. 

Intentional acts that lead to injury are treated differently from negligence, and you might not be able to pursue compensation through their medical malpractice insurance company, however it depends on the medical providers’ insurance policy. 

Determining the cause of your injury requires the collection of evidence about the unique facts and circumstances of your injury and a consideration of whether or not it meets the elements of negligence, as we’ll explore below.


Negligence falls under personal injury

When a party is negligent and causes injury, your claim will generally fall under a personal injury claim. Negligence is a legal concept that is applied to determine which party is at fault for the incident or accident that led to injuries.

Negligence is comprised of four parts, each of which you’ll need to prove to collect compensation:

  • Duty – The medical professional must have a duty or responsibility toward you, generally through a doctor-patient relationship that’s established either through agreement or by receiving treatment.
  • Breach – The duty of the psychologist must have been breached, which can include providing care that falls below the standard of care for that procedure.
  • Causation – The breach of duty on behalf of your child’s psychologist must be the cause of the injury you are claiming.
  • Damages – You can only collect compensation when the injury resulted in measurable damages that you can prove with evidence.

In sum, you’ll need to gather evidence to demonstrate what the standard of care is and to prove that it was violated.


Examples of psychologist/therapist negligence

There are some common forms of negligence that psychologists or therapists have been known to engage in that you should watch out for.

Using therapeutic techniques without proper training

Therapists must have the proper training to employ certain techniques without the risk of injury.

Taking inadequate notes

Inadequate notes can lead to the providing treatments that have a risk of harm.

Failing to take appropriate medical history

Medical professionals must carefully assess the medical history of their patients to ensure that current treatments do not complicate prior issues.

Failing to address signs or symptoms of a mental health problem

When signs of a mental health problem are not noticed or addressed, they can lead to the worsening of the condition.


Intentional acts fall under intentional tort law

When an injury is caused by an intentional tort, both criminal and civil law may apply. The medical malpractice claim is a civil claim that could entitle you to compensation. 

If the injury was due to an intentional act, it may also have been a criminal act, which could expose the psychologist to criminal charges. 

While we do not take criminal cases at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we can use the outcome of your criminal case as evidence in support of your civil claim to collect damages.


Examples of psychologist/therapist intentional torts

Some intentional torts on behalf of your child’s psychologist may not only lead to injury to your child but also criminal liability on behalf of the psychologist.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is illegal and will expose a psychologist or therapist to criminal and civil liability.

Breach of Trust

Treatment providers are legally obligated to keep the confidence of patients except under narrowly defined circumstances and can be liable for related damages.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

When a psychologist knows a child is predisposed to harm and engages in behavior that results in that harm, the psychologist may have knowingly caused distress, and could be liable for IIED.


Fraud of any kind is illegal, and damages that result can entitle you to financial compensation in addition to the option to bring criminal charges.

Think your child’s therapist caused them harm? We can help.

If you think your child has experienced harm or injury as a result of therapist malpractice, you could be entitled to compensation. 

When injuries are caused by intentional acts that could be illegal, filing a report with the police is suggested. The report will also provide valuable evidence in support of your case. Beyond that, reaching out to a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer with experience handling medical malpractice cases in your local courts will support the best possible outcome in your case.

Reach out today to connect with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates to schedule a consultation, or call (800) 985-1819 to discuss your options.