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Negligence at Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

Posted by Christopher Keller | Jan 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

Treatment centers for substance abuse disorders are meant to be safe areas where patients can recover with the help of licensed professionals. An individual may spend days or months in a residential facility to receive the type of treatment that is best catered to his or her disorder. However, with over 14,500 specialized treatment facilities in the United States, it is alarming to discover how difficult it is to impress consistent regulations for each center. Without rules that can be regulated on a national or state level, facilities have more of an opportunity to get away with low quality care and negligence. If you, or someone you know, have been injured at a residential treatment center for a substance abuse disorder, contact a trusted attorney today if you suspect it was a result of negligence. 

What is a Reasonable Standard of Care? 

One of the complicated aspects of proving treatment center neglect is being able to show there was an unreasonable standard of care provided. In order to do this, one would have to understand the definition of a reasonable standard of care. This standard varies from center to center, and the law only vaguely touches on this expectation. Additionally, the treatment facilities tend to have an advantage in legal cases because they generally have more control and access to any pertinent information or evidence that can be incriminating. For this reason, it is beyond crucial that you have a legal professional conduct an independent investigation of your case. An experienced attorney will know exactly what to look for when it comes time to prove you or your loved one were a victim of treatment center neglect.

How Can The Hiring of Staff Become Negligent?

The lack of regulations in substance abuse treatment centers goes all the way back to the hiring process. Without a common set of requirements for hiring eligibility, the inconsistent nature of the vetting process makes it easier for ill-fitting applicants to obtain these jobs. Another important aspect to consider is that some of these facilities hire employees within the system based on a graduation program. In other words, recovered patients can have the opportunity to take on leadership positions that may transition into actual jobs. For example, an ignored violent criminal history may result in hiring someone with a short temper to help patients. Just with this one scenario, it is not difficult to see how someone with this background may physically hurt a patient because he or she does not have the patience needed in a job like this. Before admitting yourself or a loved one to a treatment facility, take a serious look at the history of the staff and their credentials.

How Do Patients Suffer From Negligence?

There are many ways patients can suffer from negligence aside from a faulty hiring system. Take a look at some of the common situations we have seen in substance abuse treatment centers: 

  • Physical Assault: Without proper supervision, patients can be physically assaulted by other patients. Additionally, without accountability, there is always a threat of physical assault from staff members anytime there is a power imbalance. This power imbalance naturally becomes amplified when the weaker party is also struggling from substance abuse. 
  • Sexual Abuse: Just like with physical assault, patients may suffer sexual abuse from either patients or staff members. It becomes harder for a patient to report such happenings because of the state he or she is already in because of substance abuse. 
  • Misuse of Medication: Patients may be given medication from people who are not medically certified to prescribe medication to anyone. Moreover, those in charge may choose to change a patient's medicine or dosage. The freedom to make such calls can have drastic effects on patients. 
  • Relapse: Some facilities believe in allowing a patient to relapse to demonstrate control over his or her addiction. Not only is this method controversial, but it happens without regulation or accountability. 
  • Methods of Force: A substance abuse center may choose to take a tough-love approach to its patients, and this may involve force. Staff members may force patients to attend meetings they do not want to attend, take medication they do not want or need to take, or participate in experimental testing. 

What Are Common Premises Liability Injuries?

This type of injury refers to the accidents that can happen when a facility fails to fix something that can pose a danger to anyone. Without proper warning, you could slip and fall over a leak on the floor or an exposed cord from some electrical work. Faulty equipment can be especially dangerous, while getting injured on the stairs is also a common situation to see. Substance abuse patients cannot be expected to heed innate warnings when walking around such dangerous areas because they are going through medical treatment that may cloud their usually sound judgement. 

What is a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

A fiduciary duty is the responsibility one party holds to act in the best interest of the other party. A substance abuse treatment center takes on a fiduciary duty to make decisions that are in the best interests of its patients. If you or a loved one have suffered or have been injured due to a breach of fiduciary duty, you are entitled to compensation. Contact a trusted lawyer today to determine if the negligence involved in your case also involves elements of fraud and joint venture.

Contact Us Today

If you have suffered an injury at a substance abuse treatment center, you could be entitled to compensation. We understand that your pain and suffering can not be taken away or replaced, but we can help you get the money you deserve to pay for your medical bills, future medical expenses, and wages lost during your recovery. There is compensation to be earned if you are now struggling to make a living because of what you suffered while seeking recovery in a treatment center. If you or a loved one have experienced treatment facility abuse or neglect, contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you start your claim and compassionately navigate this legal experience.

About the Author

Christopher Keller

Christopher J. Keller is an experienced plaintiff's personal injury attorney.  He concentrates his practice in the areas of Wrongful Death, Auto, Truck, Train & Motorcycle Accidents and Premises Liability.  Before founding Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, PLLC, Mr. Keller practiced personal injury ...

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