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Negligence In Florida Substance Abuse Treatment Centers


Statistics from Purdue University estimate that in 2018, only 19 percent of the people nationwide who needed substance abuse treatment actually received the care they needed. Even people who can afford inpatient treatment may struggle with getting clean, and this is not helped if their institution is negligent with regard to treatment or their patients’ general welfare. If you believe that you have been injured due to the negligence of your substance abuse treatment center, you have the right to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered.

Negligence and Malice

Like any other medical facility, a substance abuse treatment center (and its workers) owes a duty to exercise reasonable care toward their patients, and a failure to do so can open the center up to accusations of negligence or even medical malpractice, depending on the alleged actor. Crimes like alleged assault or manslaughter justifiably raise hackles, but too often mere civil torts (wrongs) are overlooked by all but the family of the affected victim. In reality, negligence can lead to all manner of injuries, including relapses, self-injurious behavior, or untreated side effects or withdrawal symptoms, any of which can cause long-term injury or death.

Some family members of injured patients may not believe they can bring suit against an allegedly negligent treatment center because it cannot be proven that their loved one was injured due to malice. This is a misconception – showing actual malice or dangerous recklessness is a standard reserved for criminal matters. Civil torts such as negligence only require a showing of, well, negligence – that someone failed to exercise due care, rather than not exercising any care at all. You may try to establish the substance abuse treatment center’s liability for your loved one’s suffering – just not necessarily their criminal guilt.

Patient Brokering

One of the most common factors in injuries and deaths in Florida substance abuse treatment centers is a lack of monitoring by institution staff. Failure to monitor patients can lead to injuries and deaths due to missed withdrawal symptoms or self-injurious behavior (among other actions), and since monitoring is a core part of the treatment center’s mission, failure to do so is almost de facto a breach of the duty of care. One major reason for a pervasive lack of monitoring at many institutions, however, is referred to as patient brokering, and if it plays a role in your loved one’s ordeal, it may make a difference in determining liability.

Patient brokering, also called body brokering, is when a treatment center pays a third party to find patients to fill their beds. The broker receives a commission for each ‘referral,’ but the institution will very often neglect the patients they receive. A treatment center that engages in patient brokering is breaking the law in Florida, but many still do it because of its potentially lucrative insurance payouts. If you discover evidence of patient brokering at your loved one’s substance abuse treatment center, it is crucial that you take them out of the institution immediately, and consult an experienced attorney to figure out how best to proceed.

Contact A Tampa Personal Injury Attorney

Substance abuse treatment centers provide a vital lifeline to many Floridians who need help getting and staying clean. However, this does not give them carte blanche to act with negligence and indifference. If you believe that you or someone you love has been injured by a substance abuse treatment center’s negligence, calling a Tampa personal injury attorney at the Rinaldo Law Group is a good idea. We are proud to offer zealous and compassionate representation. Call our offices today for a free consultation.






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