Were You Injured While In A Rehab Facility?
People entering addiction rehabilitation centers are at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives. Generally, people seeking help have reached rock bottom after years of mental and physical abuse. In this fragile state, a patient needs a safe environment surrounded by people who can help. Nothing short of this is acceptable.
It is a sad fact that hundreds of injuries occur at drug rehab centers each year. A recovery center is not defined as a hospital, but staff at recovery centers have a duty of care to ensure their clients are safe. When a Florida rehab center staff member acts in a negligent manner that results in an assault or injury, the rehab center needs to be held accountable. Assault and injury victims can seek compensation for things such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What Are Some Common Injuries Among Drug And Alcohol Rehab Patients?
From his X1Law, P.A., office in North Palm Beach, attorney Patrick Tighe helps injury victims and their loved ones seek compensation to recover from physical and emotional trauma experienced at rehab facilities. Mr. Tighe represents clients in a wide range of injury cases. Some of the most common injury cases include:
Assaults On Patients
Most alcohol and drug rehab centers usually employ strong male employees to help with violent and upset patients who could try to harm themselves, other staff or other patients. When these employees attempt to control a patient, they can overreact and hurt someone. There have been reports of staff members who have choked the patient to the point where the rehab patient became unconscious. Other reports have been filed where the employee has bear-hugged the patient hard enough to crack their ribs. In other cases, the male staff member twisted a patient’s wrist too hard, and the patient sustained a tear in their tendon and a fracture to a bone in their wrist.
Infections From Diseases
When clients enter a treatment center, they often seek help from intravenous drug use. When a person uses needles to shoot up their drug of choice, they often contract certain diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. If the rehab center does not properly test and treat infectious patients, these diseases could be passed along to other patients. If the recovery center does not take proper procedures and you or a loved one contracts one of these diseases, they could be held liable for their negligence.
Generally, hospitals and rehab centers have tile floors. They do these because it is much easier to keep them clean and disinfected. However, using some chemicals can make the floor extremely slippery. When a patient slips on a hard surface, such as a tile floor, the resulting fall can easily cause a serious sprain, broken or fractured bone or head injury.
When people are going through different aspects of their recovery, they can become extremely short-tempered, and the smallest of disputes can turn into an assault rapidly. Employees in drug treatment centers have specialized training in looking out for and stopping any type of dispute prior to a violent outbreak. However, people can become complacent or distracted. If this happens and a patient is assaulted by another patient, injuries can become serious.
Rape In Rehab Centers
As mentioned above, when a person is going through the first stages of gaining recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, they are in a weakened state. Unfortunately, some unsavory staff or other patients may view this as an opportunity to take advantage. There is never an excuse for rape, and the treatment center has a duty to protect their patients from being raped or sexually harassed.
Bad-Faith Insurance Practices
We all pay our health insurance each month and expect that the insurance will cover our medical expenses when we need to make a claim. Drug and alcohol abuse is now covered under all marketplace accounts established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the same extent that they cover other medical procedures. Addiction is considered a disease by the American Medical Association. If your insurance company is refusing to pay a claim or allow you coverage, you should seek the help of an experienced recovery lawyer who understands the complexity of laws concerning insurance policies.
When a person is going through the steps of seeking sobriety, they can often exhibit tendencies that can be harmful to themselves. Drug and alcohol rehab centers should have doctors, psychologists and counselors trained to identify and treat these actions prior to the occurrence of any serious injury. If the drug and alcohol center fails to identify and protect these patients, serious injuries or even suicide are possible.
There have been cases where a drug center has discharged a patient even though that is not in the best interest of the patient. We have a case where a young woman was court-ordered to spend 90 days in a treatment center. The facility discharged her about halfway through the 90 days without notifying the court or her family. The young woman relapsed and died of an overdose only several days later.
In a recent study conducted by Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, it was found that many drug and alcohol treatment centers were using unscientific or outdated treatment methods. Such procedures could certainly fall under medical malpractice guidelines and often lead to an addiction relapse. When a person or family is spending thousands of dollars for their treatment, it is essential that they receive proper medical care.
Each type of addition has different withdrawal symptoms. Some can be life-threatening and deserve close monitoring by a trained medical staff member. Some prescription medications can be administered to alleviate the pain someone goes through during their detox time. When a rehab center fails to protect its patients properly, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
Drug And Alcohol Rehab Center’s Duties
All treatment centers have a strict legal duty of care to protect their patients. Due to the fact that a person is in an extremely fragile state when trying to obtain sobriety, a treatment center has a responsibility to keep them safe. When a center falls short of this duty, a recovery patient may become seriously injured or they might even die.
If you feel that you have been the victim of negligence by an insurance carrier or a drug and alcohol rehab center, you need to seek the help of an experienced rehab lawyer. Protect the rights and health of your loved one by contacting X1Law, P.A. Mr. Tighe is also here to help you seek justice if you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a rehab center’s employees or administration.
Common Questions About Recovery And Rehab Injuries
People often have many questions regarding these types of cases. Some common questions include:
Why do I need a lawyer?
Although Florida law does not require you to work with a lawyer, your lawyer can provide several benefits. The insurance company is trying to pay as little as possible for your claim. An experienced attorney is a skilled negotiator and knows how much your claim is worth and whether the insurance company has made you a reasonable offer. Without the threat of litigation, the insurance company has little motivation to pay you what your claim is worth.
How long will my case take?
The length of your case depends on the type of injury you suffered. More severe injuries can take longer because we want to make sure we have an accurate picture of the care you may need in the future. Another factor is whether you choose to settle out of court or take your case to trial. Most personal injury cases in Florida must be brought within two or four years after the accident. Attorney Patrick Tighe can give you a more accurate idea of your timeline after meeting with you.
Will I have to take my case to trial?
Many people choose to settle their personal injury cases before they go to trial for a variety of reasons. If the insurance company does not offer you a fair settlement, however, you may choose to go to trial. Mr. Tighe will explain your options at every step so you can make informed decisions that will work best for you.
How do I know if I have a case?
The best way to find out if you have a case is to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience in these types of cases. Not all personal injury attorneys handle rehab facility cases, but Mr. Tighe has handled many. He will meet with you in a free consultation to review your case.
How much will my case cost me?
At X1Law, P.A., we handle our injury cases on a contingency basis. That means we do not charge you attorney fees unless we recover monetary damages for you, either through settlement or at trial. Then, our fee is based on a percentage of those winnings. Your initial consultation with us is always free of charge.