Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Filing Suit Against A Negligent Substance Abuse Center


When someone goes to a substance abuse rehab facility, they are placing themselves in a vulnerable position. Patients pay for (and expect) a high level of care from a specialized facility, hoping they can use the time and the expertise at hand to help quit habits that can be quite dangerous. However, negligence does happen, and when it does, recovering patients can feel like they have nowhere to turn. A knowledgeable and compassionate attorney can help.

Has The Standard Of Care Been Breached?

As of this writing, Florida law does not set out a specific standard of care that must be observed by rehabilitation centers – but depending on the nature of the injuries a patient suffers, they may be able to file suit against the center, or against individual staff (or both). Even if the harm to a patient cannot be chalked up to the actions of one or a handful of staff, the rehab center can still be sued for failing to provide an ordinary level of care. If, for example, a patient at risk of self-harm is not adequately watched, and they harm themselves, the center can be sued for its failure to guarantee the patient’s safety.

If, however, the harm to a patient can be laid at the door of a specific staff member, they may individually be held liable as well as the facility itself. A healthcare provider in Florida must provide the same level of “care, skill, and treatment” that would appropriately be observed by a “similar” healthcare provider – in other words, if a healthcare professional acts in a manner that no ‘reasonably prudent’ healthcare professional would allow, they have likely acted negligently.

You Have The Right To Sue

If there are grounds to show that a patient has been injured as a direct result of negligence (with no other intervening cause), that patient can file a claim against the facility. In general, there are three criteria that must be established in order to prevail on a claim for negligence. The plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care toward the plaintiff – in the case of an addiction rehab facility, that duty of care is established by law – and that the defendant breached that duty. It also must be shown that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the harm suffered by the plaintiff.

One important thing to keep in mind is that some injured patients are put off from seeking compensation because they fear that they have played some role in their own injuries, whether physical, mental, or otherwise. It is crucial to understand that addiction is not a crime – that having substance abuse problems does not mean you have no right to recover damages from the person or people who harmed you. Florida law explicitly allows plaintiffs to recover at least part of their damages if the defendant is found liable, even if a jury holds the plaintiff partially liable for their own injuries.

Contact A Tampa Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Center Attorney

Addiction treatment can be a humbling time for a person, but regardless of how they got there, patients in rehab are owed a duty of care and breaching it is actionable. A Tampa treatment center negligence attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can provide compassionate and knowledgeable representation at what can be a difficult time for you and yours. Call our office today for a free consultation.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn