Experienced Lawyers Focused on Florida Facility Injury Lawsuits
The lawyers at Senior Justice Law Firm focus their practice on a very narrow area: litigating lawsuits on behalf of wrongfully injured residents of facilities. Our law firm handles facility injury claims involving the following types of institutions:
- Nursing Homes
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Home Health Aides and Agencies
- Independent Living Facilities
- Adult Day Care
- Psychiatric Facility
- Drug Rehab Center
- Sober Home
- Residential Treatment Center
Facility Abuse vs. Facility Neglect: What is the Difference?
Facility abuse means intentional harm caused by staff members. Think of a nurse or facility employee physically hitting a resident for misbehaving.
Facility neglect means ignoring or withholding the care, treatment or supervision that a resident needs. This can be a variety of things, like a nurse ignoring a resident who then develops bedsores, a mental health tech failing to supervise an at-risk mentally ill patient resulting in suicide, or facility management ignoring a resident-on-resident conflict which turns into a physical attack.
Is a Facility Responsible for Staff Neglect of Residents?
Yes, management can be held liable if the facility employs the negligent staff member. If a facility owner employs a staff member to further its business interests, and the staff member is within the course and scope of their employment with the facility during their negligent action(s) or inaction(s), the facility ownership can be held liable in a facility negligence lawsuit. This means that even if the facility is managed properly, the facility can still be responsible for the ‘one bad apple’ staff member who failed to provide the appropriate level of care, supervision or assistance to the resident.
My Family Member Has a Complicated Health History. Can a Facility Still be Held Liable for Injuries if my Loved One was Ill Upon Admission?
We get asked this question often. Here is a secret: no one enters a nursing home because they are healthy. No one goes into a rehab because they are perfect. No one enters a psychiatric facility because they are of sound mind. These facilities screen the incoming patients and agree to provide care and treatment to the residents in exchange for money. There are no surprises when a resident is admitted to a facility. No facility is forced to accept a patient. The facility agrees to accept the incoming residents. This means the management has carefully analyzed the resident’s past health history and contractually agrees that:
- The facility has the ability, staff and protocols in place to provide reasonable care to the resident, and,
- The facility will appropriately care, assist and/or supervise the resident in exchange for money.
The excuse that your loved one was too much to handle is just that; an excuse. If your family member was beyond the limits of the facility, they should have done something about that before the injury.
My Family Member Was Attacked by Another Resident. Is a Facility Responsible to Stop this Kind of Resident-on-Resident Assault?
Yes and no. The law on this issue comes down to notice and foreseeability. Think of this like a warning light on your car dashboard. If the check engine light pops on, you know you should take your car in for a check-up. If you ignore the warning, drive another 10,000 miles and ruin your engine, you have no one to blame but yourself. The same is true with a facility’s knowledge of their resident’s violent propensities. If the violent act is a total surprise, the facility is not likely to be responsible. But if a facility knows, or should have known, that a resident is prone to violence or sexual assault, the facility must take reasonable steps to prevent the resident from committing these attacks on other people.
Restatement (Second) of Torts section 319 (1965), provides:
One who takes charge of a third person whom he knows or should know to be likely to cause bodily harm to others if not controlled is under a duty to exercise reasonable care to control the third person to prevent him from doing such harm.
Take for example, the case of Joseph v. University Behavioral Health. In this case, the Plaintiff was a bipolar, schizophrenic resident admitted to the Defendant’s psychiatric facility. The Plaintiff had prior run-ins with another resident, who bullied the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff reported the bullying and his fear of the bully but the staff did nothing. Finally, the bully beat the Plaintiff so badly that he suffered a detached retina. The Plaintiff-resident was able to sue the psychiatric facility, even though he was attacked by another resident. The allegations of negligence against the facility focused on the facility’s ignoring of the warning signs (i.e. foreseeability) of the resident-on-resident attack.
Resident on resident assault lawsuits usually involve terrible injuries, such as:
- Murder, Suicide and Wrongful Death
- Rape and Sexual Assault
- Broken Bones and Brain Injury
Is a Facility Responsible for Resident Attacks on Non-Residents?
Yes, the facility may be held liable if it negligently allows one of its residents to attack, assault, rape or murder a third party non-resident. For example, the Florida Supreme Court case of Nova University v. Wagner held that a residential rehabilitation program could be held liable for harm caused by two escaped residents who murdered two small children. If a jury finds the facility failed in its duty to supervise the attacking resident, then the facility can be held liable for the injuries caused by its resident.
More Questions on Suing a Facility for Negligence and Injuries?
Following a serious injury in a facility, your head may be buzzing with questions. Was this injury preventable? Was my loved one abused and neglected? Is the facility responsible for the resulting medical bills and losses sustained because of the injury?
Our lawyers have been litigating facility injury cases for a combined 50 years. We know what you are going through and we understand the specialized law controlling these different facilities. Most importantly of all, we care.
Let our experienced, compassionate facility negligence lawyers answer your questions today. Call us for a free, no obligation case evaluation at 1-844-253-8919.