Glendale Rehab Facility Negligence & Wrongful Death Attorneys
When you entrust a family member to a rehabilitation facility or treatment facility, whether it is due to an addiction, aging, or illness, you expect them to be taken care of. You assume that staff will treat your loved one well and with kindness and do everything they can to ensure that they stay as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, rehabilitation centers are hotbeds for neglect and abuse. This negligence can, and often does, lead to death.
There is nothing more difficult than suddenly losing a loved one, especially if you entrusted them to a facility that was meant to improve their health or well-being. At Aghabegian & Associates, PC, our Glendale rehab negligence attorneys have seen how, time and time again, rehabilitation facilities have failed their patients. That is why we are determined to help families who have lost loved ones due to rehab center neglect. For legal help, call our firm at (818) 507-4311. We want to help.
Often times addiction, old age, and illness make it harder for a person to speak out about abuse or neglect, whether it be because they are physically too weak to, cannot remember due to a memory disorder, or are not considered trustworthy. This means that staff are in an easier position to exert power over residents and not face any consequences for doing so. Knowing the different forms of neglect that can take place in a rehabilitation facility can help you determine if there is abuse that needs to be reported, as well as whether the facility is liable for your loved one’s injuries or death.
Neglect in medical treatment: Rehabilitation facilities are meant to help residents get back on their feet after an accident or illness or help them move past an addiction. As such, there is the expectation that a rehab center will have proper medical treatment plans, machinery, and medicines. When they fail in this and a resident becomes sick, injured, or dies, the center should be held accountable.
Failing to provide proper supervision: Most rehab patients are in incredibly fragile and difficult states of mind. This could make them a danger to themselves, especially if they begin self-harming or they are suicidal. Because of that, staff must always be there to provide proper supervision to the resident and make sure they stay safe. If they fail in this, it could result in the resident becoming injured or even dying.
Neglect in maintaining health and safety policies: Rehab centers are expected to adhere to state and federal laws and stay up to code for both health and safety. When they neglect to do so, residents can become dangerously ill, injure themselves, or die.
Poorly trained or unfit staff: Rehab staff must be properly trained to handle all kinds of patients and situations. If staff are not trained, or the center hires staff who are not qualified, then the management in charge of the center is acting in negligence.
Abuse: Not all neglect is abusive. Much of it is laziness or entitlement or a lack of knowledge. However, just as staff and administration can be neglectful, they can be physically, emotionally, sexually, and financially abusive as well. If you notice signs of abuse, such as a drastic and sudden change in personality, bruises and cuts with unknown origins, or a fear of certain staff members, then you should speak with your loved one in private. You should also consider contacting the local authorities so that an investigation can be launched.
Residents at rehab centers, mental health facilities, and long-term care facilities are often in fragile states of mind. They can be susceptible to illnesses, injuries, and mental health issues, all potentially leading to further injuries, illnesses, or death if they are mistreated. Due to this, their caretakers must be considerate, gentle, and effective. Otherwise, there is no point to the facility to begin with. When rehab facilities ignore the fragility of their patients, and instead act in negligence or abuse, they should be held accountable. In fact, you would expect that there would be countless state and federal laws protecting patients and ensuring that any negligent facility is held liable. Sadly, that just isn’t the case.
While awareness of addiction has gone up recently, especially in the wake of the opioid epidemic, there has been a federal increase to funding for rehab centers, in hopes of opening more up and improving the ones already available, such as with the SUPPORT Act and the 21st Century Cures Act. Unfortunately, once that budget has been spread across the entire country, there is very little available for everyone who needs it, meaning certain facilities are lacking in resources. This can lead to understaffing, negligent hiring, a lack of supervision, and poor health standards. However, facilities should still do everything they can to provide for their residents. Under several different federal laws for substance abuse centers, rehab facilities, and mental health facilities, staff members are expected to provide a reasonable standard of care for their patients according to the:
- Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)
- Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act
- Children’s Health Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Protection and Advocacy for Mental III Individuals Act of 1986
However, what is reasonable and what is not reasonable could depend on the facility, the patient, and the family involved. One thing is for sure though, death should never be considered “reasonable.” It is a rehabilitation center’s duty to protect its residents and abide by all the laws listed above. If they fail so miserably in this that one of their patients dies, then they should be held accountable.
After checking your loved one into the rehab center, you expected them to be well taken care of. Nothing could have prepared you for the notification that your family member had died. What happened cannot be reversed, but you can make sure the people responsible are held accountable. That will involve filing a wrongful death claim.
If you are worried that, because your loved one committed suicide, the rehab center will deny any responsibility, you should remember that not providing proper supervision to at-risk patients is a form of neglect. When patients enter a facility, they are given an introductory interview. During this interview, staff should ask about any mental health issues such as suicidal tendencies or self-harm practices. If the facility is aware of these issues, then it is their responsibility to make sure the patient doesn’t hurt or kill themselves. If they neglect to ask about mental illnesses in the interview, or neglect to schedule an interview altogether, then that lack of knowledge does not automatically protect them, as the interview is part of the care process.
Because the laws around rehab centers are complex, proving negligence can be difficult, but not impossible. There may already be complaints made about the facility that prove they don’t treat their patients well. If you took photos of the poor conditions, you could also present those as evidence. There may be surveillance footage of abuse and neglect that can be used to demonstrate guilt. All of this can be difficult to get your hands on, but with an experienced attorney by your side, proving negligence and demanding compensation is possible.
After losing a beloved family member, you are likely in deep mourning. To lose someone you loved, especially someone who you did your best to provide for and take care of, can be one of the most painful and tragic moments in your life. That is why our Glendale personal injury attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC are dedicated to providing support and compassionate legal help to families in need. If you have lost a family member due to a rehab facility’s negligence or abuse, then you deserve justice. Call our firm at (818) 507-4311, for a much-needed helping hand.
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