Liability of professional and volunteer mental health practitioners in the wake of disasters: A framework for further considerations

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Qualified immunity from civil liability exists for acts of disaster mental health (DMH) practitioners responding to disasters or acts of terrorism. This article reviews current legal regimens dictating civil liability for potentially wrongful acts of DMH professionals and volunteers responding to disasters. Criteria are proposed to inform determinations of civil liability for DMH workers in disaster response, given current legal parameters and established tort law in relevant areas. Specific considerations are examined that potentially implicate direct liability of DMH professionals and volunteers, and vicarious liability of DMH supervisors for actions of volunteer subordinates. The relevance of pre-event DMH planning and operationalization of the plan post-event is linked to considerations of liability. This article concludes with recommendations to minimize liability exposure for DMH workers in response efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-590
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 31 2005

Fingerprint

Legal Liability
Disasters
liability
Volunteers
disaster
Mental Health
mental health
health professionals
Terrorism
worker
Health Planning
health planning
event
operationalization
immunity
Immunity
terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

Cite this

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title = "Liability of professional and volunteer mental health practitioners in the wake of disasters: A framework for further considerations",
abstract = "Qualified immunity from civil liability exists for acts of disaster mental health (DMH) practitioners responding to disasters or acts of terrorism. This article reviews current legal regimens dictating civil liability for potentially wrongful acts of DMH professionals and volunteers responding to disasters. Criteria are proposed to inform determinations of civil liability for DMH workers in disaster response, given current legal parameters and established tort law in relevant areas. Specific considerations are examined that potentially implicate direct liability of DMH professionals and volunteers, and vicarious liability of DMH supervisors for actions of volunteer subordinates. The relevance of pre-event DMH planning and operationalization of the plan post-event is linked to considerations of liability. This article concludes with recommendations to minimize liability exposure for DMH workers in response efforts.",
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AB - Qualified immunity from civil liability exists for acts of disaster mental health (DMH) practitioners responding to disasters or acts of terrorism. This article reviews current legal regimens dictating civil liability for potentially wrongful acts of DMH professionals and volunteers responding to disasters. Criteria are proposed to inform determinations of civil liability for DMH workers in disaster response, given current legal parameters and established tort law in relevant areas. Specific considerations are examined that potentially implicate direct liability of DMH professionals and volunteers, and vicarious liability of DMH supervisors for actions of volunteer subordinates. The relevance of pre-event DMH planning and operationalization of the plan post-event is linked to considerations of liability. This article concludes with recommendations to minimize liability exposure for DMH workers in response efforts.

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