Suing for Wrongful Involuntary Commitment in Small Claims Court
Every state has laws that allow involuntary commitment. Typically, the state has a right to hold you, even if it's against your will, if it's believed you pose a risk to yourself or the public. Determining whether a person is a risk may be up to a doctor or a judge, depending on the laws within the state. In order to commit you against your will, the determining authority must follow strict guidelines to ensure that your constitutional rights are not violated. If they are, you may have cause to sue them for wrongful involuntary commitment in small claims court.
Committed patients have legal rights too, as defined by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980. Though these laws exist, doctors may not always follow them, and you may find yourself incorrectly committed to a facility. You may be wrongfully committed because:
- A therapist failed to do the proper legal checks
- A police officer did not understand the legislation
- A witness gave inaccurate testimony against you
If the facility doesn't have clear and convincing evidence that you are a danger to yourself or others, then legally, they should allow you to leave. Being wrongfully committed can be scary, dangerous, and harmful to an individual that doesn't need to be there. It's also a violation of your constitutional rights. If you believe you've been wrongfully committed to a hospital or in-patient facility, you may be able to sue for wrongful involuntary commitment in small claims court.
Reasons to File a Lawsuit Against Someone for Wrongful Involuntary Commitment
Not only is being wrongfully involuntarily committed distressing, but it could also have long-term repercussions. You may consider filing a lawsuit due to:
|Loss of Income||Depending on how long the involuntary hold lasts, you may end up missing work. For most people, this means a loss of income. For some, it can also mean the loss of their job. The involuntary commitment may also end up excluding you from certain types of employment, which could prohibit your ability to earn and care for yourself and your family.|
|Pain and Suffering||Being falsely imprisoned can result in a lot of mental pain and suffering. You'll have to live with the social stigma of being on an emergency psychiatric hold. You may also suffer from any false testimony given against you that resulted in the involuntary hold. This can result in making it more difficult to retain custody of your children or even find safe housing in the future. It may even impact certain rights, such as gun ownership.|
File a Lawsuit Against Anyone for Wrongful Involuntary Commitment by Yourself
Getting compensation for wrongful involuntary commitment doesn't require hiring an expensive legal team. You can file a claim for wrongful involuntary commitment yourself. The procedure, rules, and paperwork will vary from state to state, and you'll need to follow those guidelines exactly if you want the court to hear your case.
In general, though, you'll need to:
- Name the defendant and how much they owe you
- Fill out your court forms and file the paperwork
- Make sure the paperwork is correctly served
You'll need to do your research on the process carefully. The guidelines for filing a lawsuit are extremely complicated. If not done correctly, your case may be thrown out, and you'll need to pay the filing fees again if you want to refile the paperwork.
Potential Issues With Filing a Lawsuit by Yourself
You may be successful in representing yourself in small claims court. However, there are risks to doing it yourself:
|Paperwork||There is a higher risk that the court could throw your case out because you didn't do something correctly on the paperwork.|
|Notifying the Defendant||You'll need to get the paperwork served to the defendant yourself. There are a lot of rules about how to serve a lawsuit, and if it's done incorrectly, it can invalidate the lawsuit.|
|Restarting the Process||If you do even one thing wrong, you'll need to start the process over. That can mean more time and more money out of your pocket.|
Because of this, it's often best to have some legal assistance when filing a lawsuit for wrongful involuntary commitment. By partnering with a legal team, they can make sure your paperwork is done correctly, filed on time, and served within the guidelines set by the state.
How to Sue Anyone for Wrongful Involuntary Commitment With DoNotPay
DoNotPay can help you file a claim in small claims court yourself while still getting the benefit of legal help. All you have to do to file a lawsuit in small claims court is visit the DoNotPay app on any web browser, then:
- Select the "Sue Now" product after you log into DoNotPay
- Enter the dollar amount you believe you are owed
- Select between the demand letter or court filing forms
- Describe your reasons for filing the claim and submit any details about your case
Once you've finished filling out the easy-to-use forms, DoNotPay will automatically generate the demand letter or court filing forms that you need. The app will even mail a copy of the demand letter to the person or institution you are suing. You’ll enjoy the convenience of doing it yourself with the peace of mind that comes from working with a legal team.
DoNotPay Makes Lawsuits Easy
Don’t let big corporations get the better of you. With DoNotPay, you can get help suing anyone from McDonald’s to your next-door neighbor. Here are just a few companies our users have sued: