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Psychiatrist and Psychologist Liability for Patient's Harm to Self and Others, Unjustified Involuntary Commitment

Suicide After Examination; Harm Generally and in the Workplace

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, October 24, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will address four complex and interrelated areas of liability for medical practitioners who care for individuals with mental health issues: (1) patient suicide or other self harm; (2) harm to others, generally, for a patient's violent acts; (3) potential harm in the workplace to employees injured by the patient; and (4) consequences of a wrongful directive for involuntary commitment. These exposures require the trial lawyer to balance the medical professional's duties to the patient, duties to others, and the need to self-protect in developing a strategy to prevail.


As an increasing number of individuals seek and receive treatment for mental health concerns, caregivers and healthcare providers increasingly find themselves facing litigation. Such litigation differs from traditional malpractice litigation on almost every level. The workings of the mind do not often manifest physically, so lawyers trying such cases must go beyond the surface.

One claim arises out of harm to the patient when the provider does not recognize the signs of a possible suicide or other self-harm. Litigation ensues, brought either by the family of the deceased, or the one who engages in self-harm. There is also exposure to liability to the patient in instances where the professional wrongfully "signs off" on involuntary commitment of the patient.

Harm to others is also an issue. If a practitioner is negligent in detecting an intent to cause harm or fails to report possible danger, that practitioner may be exposed to claims.

Listen as this panel of trial lawyers steeped in such issues imparts their expertise on the substance and process behind pursuing and defending these claims. In addition to technical legal matters, the panel will provide information and advice regarding critical strategic issues.



  1. Claims for patient suicide
  2. Claims for harm to others
    1. In general
    2. In the workplace
    3. Statutory duties and protections
  3. Involuntary commitment


The panel will review these and other challenging matters:

  • The nature of exposures faced by these caregivers
  • Statutory constructs regarding duties to report
  • Duties regarding involuntary commitment


Caudill, O Brandt
O. Brandt Caudill, Jr.

Callahan Thompson Sherman & Caudill

Mr. Caudill is the managing partner of the psychology department of Callahan, Thompson, Sherman & Caudill,LLP. He...  |  Read More

Fraser, Rhett
Rhett Fraser

Huegli Fraser

Mr. Fraser devotes his legal practice exclusively to helping people injured as a result of the negligence of...  |  Read More

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