If a rehab facility injures you or a loved one, you may question if you can sue. You can sue a rehab facility for carelessness, but you must know your rights and the process. Rehabilitation negligence, its prevalence, and how to get justice and compensation are covered here.
What is Rehabilitation Negligence?
Rehabilitation negligence is a form of medical malpractice that occurs when a rehab facility fails to provide adequate or appropriate care to its patients.
This can include failing to:
- Assess the patient’s needs and medical history
- Create or follow an individualized treatment plan
- Monitor the patient’s progress and adjust the treatment accordingly
- Prevent or treat infections, injuries, or complications
- Provide a safe and sanitary environment
- Protect the patient from abuse, neglect, or exploitation
- Refer the patient to other specialists or services when needed
Rehabilitation negligence may result in the following:
- Worsening of the original condition or injury
- New or additional conditions or injuries
- Physical pain and emotional trauma
- Loss of function, mobility, or enjoyment of life
- Increased medical and future care expenditures
- Income loss
Rehabilitation neglect is common. In 2018, more than one in four rehab facilities had at least one flaw that harmed patients, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services investigation.
In 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office determined that nearly 40% of rehab facilities had significant issues that threatened patients. These figures illustrate that rehabilitative carelessness impacts thousands of people annually.
How common in Rehabilitation Negligence?
How ordinary is rehabilitation negligence is a crucial question for many persons considering suing a rehab center. This occurs when a rehab institution fails to provide proper care, treatment, or supervision, causing harm or injury.
Rehabilitation negligence includes:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition
- Medication errors or overdoses
- Lack of proper monitoring or supervision
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- Neglect or abandonment
- Inadequate staffing or training
- Failure to prevent or treat infections
- Failure to follow safety protocols or standards
A rehab facility’s negligence may entitle you to compensation. Contact an expert rehab negligence attorney to discuss your legal options.
Examples of rehab facility negligence
Rehab center negligence may entitle you to compensation for your suffering. Rehab center neglect can have deadly implications for addicts and mental health patients.
Failure to provide adequate care
Patients in rehab must receive medical, psychological, and social care. Adequate care includes a safe environment, adequate food, and suitable activities. Infections, starvation, dehydration, and other health issues might result from inadequate rehab care.
Failure to supervise patients
Rehab centers must monitor patients to prevent self-harm and others. Supervision includes keeping patients away from narcotics, alcohol, and other substances that could interfere with treatment. Patients in unsupervised treatment may relapse, overdose, commit suicide, or act violently.
Failure to properly diagnose or treat patients
Mental illness, trauma, and chronic pain must be diagnosed and treated in rehab. Addiction can be conquered with proper diagnosis and therapy. Symptoms, side effects, and consequences may escalate if a rehab center misdiagnoses or treats patients.
Failure to protect patients from harm
Rehab centers must protect patients from personnel, other patients, and residential treatment center abuse. Physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse exist. Not meeting fundamental necessities is neglect. Exploitation might involve abusing patients’ confidence.
Rehab patients may suffer physical, psychological, or financial harm if not protected. 29% of people in rehab centers got hurt because of the care they got. This could be because of a mistake with their medicine, bedsore, an infection, or something else.
Rehab institutions must safely administer drugs to patients. Medication errors include administering the improper dose, medication, or method. Failure to monitor drug effects or interactions is another medication mistake.
Medication errors in treatment can cause adverse responses, allergic reactions, and overdoses. In 67% of trials, medical record reviews or observations determined if a medicine caused avoidable harm.
Sexual abuse occurs when a rehab patient has unwanted sexual interaction with personnel or other patients. Sexual abuse includes touching, grabbing, kissing, fondling, oral, vaginal, anal, or forced exposure.
Sexual abuse can cause injuries, STDs, pregnancy, and abortion. This can produce shame, guilt, fear, wrath, despair, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder in residential treatment center abuse. More than 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse have been reported since 2000 in long-term care facilities.
A rehab patient is physically abused if they are hurt intentionally. Hit, punch, kick, slap, choke, burn, slash, or constrain. Abuse can cause bruises, wounds, fractures, sprains, burns, scars, and internal damage. Physical abuse can produce depression, loneliness, and violence.
Any verbal or nonverbal behavior that demeans a residential treatment center abuse is emotional abuse. Emotional abuse includes yelling, insulting, threatening, shaming, mocking, blaming, or ignoring. Emotional abuse can induce disorientation, self-doubt, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts.
How to Prove Negligence in a Rehab Facility
Negligence is failing to perform a duty or service with reasonable care or skill. Some criteria are needed to prove rehab negligence:
Gathering evidence of duty of care
You must prove that the rehab facility owed you or your loved one a duty of care. The facility had to offer reasonable and suitable care for your needs and condition. Gather proof like:
- Patient records and treatment plans that illustrate your case’s diagnosis, goals, and interventions
- Facility patient care and safety policies and protocols that explain the facility’s standards and processes
- Staff qualifications and training records that demonstrate the staff’s credentials and competencies
- Expert witness testimony outlining deviations from the expected standard of care
Demonstrating a breach of duty to negligent rehab facility lawyer
You must also prove that the treatment center broke its duty of care. The facility or personnel violated your standard of care. To establish this, you must identify particular breaches, such as:
- Negligent assessment of your condition or monitoring of your progress
- Inadequate supervision or assistance
- Improper or delayed administration of medication or treatment
- Failure to prevent or treat infections, injuries, or complications
- Failure to communicate with you or your family about your condition or treatment
- Failure to refer you to other specialists or services when necessary.
Expert witnesses can explain how the facility’s activities diverged from what a reasonable and competent rehab facility would have done.
Establishing causation between the breach and harm suffered
The third element is the rehab facility’s breach of duty caused or contributed to your or your loved one’s injuries. The residential treatment center abuse caused your injury or deterioration. Show this by:
- Prove that the harm would not have occurred if the facility had acted with reasonable care
- Evaluate the chain of events and any intervening factors that may have affected the outcome
- Use medical evidence linking the harm to the facility’s negligence, such as:
(1) Medical records and reports detailing the injuries or worsening of condition
(2) Testimony from healthcare professionals regarding the extent and impact of the harm
(3) Medical opinions on how the harm could have been prevented or mitigated with proper care
Documenting actual harm or damages in residential treatment center abuse
The fourth element you need to prove is that you or your loved one suffered actual harm or damages due to the rehabilitation negligence. This means you can quantify the losses or expenses you incurred due to the harm. To prove this, you need to document:
- Medical records and reports detailing the injuries or worsening of the condition
- Testimony from healthcare professionals regarding the extent and impact of the harm
- Financial records of additional medical expenses incurred due to the negligence, such as:
(1) Hospital bills, doctor fees, medication costs, etc.
(2) Costs of additional treatments, surgeries, therapies, etc.
(3) Costs of assistive devices, equipment, home modifications, etc.
You may also be able to claim non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
These damages are more subjective and harder to quantify, but they can be supported by testimony from your family, friends, counselors, etc.
Consulting with expert witnesses
Expert witnesses are crucial to proving a negligent rehab facility lawyer. Expert witnesses are rehabilitation specialists, such as:
- Social workers
Expert witnesses can help you by:
- Using their knowledge and experience to provide opinions and testimony on the standard of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages in your case.
- Demonstrating how the facility’s actions deviated from industry standards and best practices.
- Explaining complex medical terms and concepts clearly and understandably.
- Supporting your claims with evidence-based practices and research findings.
Choose and engage with expert witnesses carefully—they can make or destroy your case. Find specialists with:
- Credibility and reputation in the industry
- Extensive knowledge and expertise in your issue
- Good communication and presentation skills
Prepare specialists by:
- Providing the relevant paperwork and information for their inspection
- Discussing your aims and expectations for their engagement
- Preparing them for deposition and trial testimony Informing them of case developments
Proving rehab negligence is challenging yet achievable. Good personal rehab lawyers and expert witnesses can help you get justice and compensation.
How to File a Rehabilitation Negligence Lawsuit?
If you believe you have a rehabilitative negligence claim, follow these steps:
Consult with rehab lawyers
Consult a negligent rehab facility lawyer first. They’ll assess your case and suggest a solution. They will also assist with lawsuit papers and procedures.
Medical data, pictures, and witness testimony are needed to prove your case. Document your physical, emotional, and financial damages.
File a complaint with the help of rehab lawyers
Complaints start lawsuits. It will detail your case and legal demands. You must file the complaint at the court with jurisdiction.
Pay filing fees
Rehab lawyers and lawsuits cost money. Filing fees vary by court and case severity. Your attorney may cover or deduct these fees from your settlement or award.
Serve the complaint
After filing the complaint, provide the negligent rehab facility lawyer with a copy. Serving the complaint tells them of the lawsuit. Your case will be dismissed if you don’t promptly serve the complaint.
Respond to the complaint
Rehab facilities have a set time to respond to complaints. They may deny or settle your claims. They could also bring counterclaims or petitions to dismiss.
Negotiate a settlement
Settlement agreements settle cases without trial. The rehab center frequently pays you to abandon your case. Settlements take compromise and negotiation, but they save time and money. Your lawyer will advise you on settlement offers.
Go to trial for residential treatment center abuse
Trial will occur if you cannot settle. Both sides will submit their facts and witnesses to a judge or jury, who will determine liability and compensation. Trials are long and unpleasant but can yield bigger awards than settlements.
Appeal the verdict
You might appeal the trial result to a higher court with rehab lawyers. An appeal examines the lower court’s judgment for legal mistakes. Appeals can take months or years and may fail.
How Much Can You Sue a Rehabilitation Center for Neglect?
How much can you sue a rehab facility for neglect or abuse? Neglect can harm your physical, mental, and recovery health. Damages should be reimbursed.
- Neglect or abuse severity and duration
- The neglect or abuse’s effects on your health, quality of life, and medical bills
- The treatment facility’s and staff’s carelessness
- State laws and regulations governing rehab facilities and personal injury claims
Rehab facilities can be sued for negligence in any amount. A skilled lawyer in this field must evaluate each case. A negligent rehab facility lawyer can gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and represent you in court.
Rehab centers must be held accountable for negligence to ensure victims receive justice and prevent future harm. You can expose the facility’s misbehavior, create awareness, and deter other facilities by suing. You can increase treatment standards and quality, aiding many addicts and recovering addicts.