February 22, 2013

162017_132140396847214_292624_nA psychologist malpractice lawsuit was filed on February 19, 2013 in a Fairfax County, Virginia court by the mother of a 15-month-old boy against a psychologist and the psychological services company for which the psychologist worked, alleging that the psychologist’s professional negligence led to the wrongful death of her 15-month-old son who was allegedly drowned by his own father during unsupervised court-ordered visitation with the father.

The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the psychologist’s report to the Maryland judge in the custody/visitation dispute resulted in the father being granted unsupervised visitation over the objection of the mother. The judge had ordered the father to undergo a psychological evaluation during the visitation dispute but allowed the father to choose the psychologist to perform the evaluation whom the father thereafter paid for the court-ordered mental evaluation and report. According to the psychologist malpractice lawsuit, the psychologist’s report resulted in the court ordering the unsupervised visitation of the young child with his biological father.

During the fourth unsupervised visitation in October, 2012, the boy drowned and the father subsequently was charged with his murder in January, 2013. It is alleged that the father had taken out life insurance policies on his son’s life that totalled in excess of $500,000. After the boy’s death, authorities took a closer look at the unsolved shooting death of the father’s ex-girlfriend in 2003 and the death of the father’s mother in 2008 that had been classified as a suicide.

During the custody/visitation court hearing, there was testimony regarding the dangerousness of the father, including testimony that the police considered the father to be a suspect in his ex-girlfriend’s death. A previous psychological evaluation of the father allegedly referenced that he had pulled a gun on a former girlfriend and that he had a history of prior physical abuse. In light of the evidence of the father’s alleged dangerous propensities and history, the psychologist malpractice lawsuit claims that the psychologist was professionally negligent in evaluating the father and in preparing the report that she submitted to the court, which resulted in the judge’s decision to allow the father unsupervised visitation of the child that led to the little boy’s death.

In short, had the psychologist prepared and submitted a proper report to the court, the judge would not have ordered unsupervised visitation of the child by his father and the child would not have been in the sole presence of his father at the time he drowned.

The mother is seeking $20 million in her psychologist malpractice lawsuit. While the mother admits that the father of the boy was good at deceiving people, including herself, she alleges that the psychologist, who is a professional, should not have been deceived by the father.

Source: The Daily Record, February 20, 2013.

If you or a loved one may have suffered injuries or other harms as a result of the professional negligence of a psychologist or psychiatrist, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. It is important that you promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney to investigate your possible psychologist/psychiatrist malpractice claim for you in order to determine if filing a malpractice claim is appropriate.

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