What Duty Of Care Is Owed By A Substance Abuse Treatment Center?
Data from the American Addiction Centers estimates that almost 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. When one of them decides to seek treatment, they may consult their doctor, or they may seek more serious, inpatient treatment at a treatment center or rehab clinic. However, in many states, Florida included, regulations surrounding the standard of care in these facilities are extremely vague. This may lead to injuries or trauma being inflicted upon the people who come there for help. If this has happened to you, consulting an experienced attorney can help to answer your questions about what to do.
Stiffer Regulations In Recent Years
Florida has been host to a veritable explosion of rehab clinics and treatment centers in recent years, at least in part because of the lax regulatory environment (at least at first). In recent years the law surrounding rehab clinics and sober homes has been toughened up, mandating more oversight, as well as regulations prohibiting a practice known as patient brokering, where rehabs would send clients to sober homes that were not regulated by the state and receive kickbacks for the privilege. However, some rehab clinics do fall through the cracks.
Unlike sober homes, which do not claim to have any medical professionals on staff in most cases, rehab clinics and treatment centers provide medical assistance to individuals who want to stop using drugs or alcohol. As a result, they are required to be licensed and abide by a certain standard of care. Patients are owed a duty similar to that owed in medical malpractice cases, but the problem many of these cases face is that the standard of care has not been clarified specifically for treatment centers the way it has for doctors and hospitals in general.
More Than One Defendant Is Possible
If you are injured at a rehab clinic or treatment center, you have options as to how best to proceed. While there is no specific and clear standard of care for substance abuse treatment centers, Florida honors a concept that essentially states that if a law is broken, injuring a member of the class that the law was designed to protect, negligence can be imputed to the actor. For example, Florida has a law requiring licensed treatment centers to hire responsible people, and perform due diligence in background checking before someone is taken on. If an employee injures a patient, negligence can be imputed to that employee because they broke the law designed to protect patients.
Something else to keep in mind in the event of an employee causing harm to a patient is that you may have a claim under what is known as vicarious liability. In Florida, if a worker commits a tort (the civil equivalent of a crime), the employer may be held liable for their employee’s actions as long as the employee was acting within the scope of their employment. If the employee is off on business of their own, the employer will not be held liable, but at most substance abuse treatment centers, the employees operate exclusively under the aegis of the employer.
Contact A Tampa Substance Abuse Treatment Center Attorney
When you make the decision to get help with your addiction, you deserve to get proper care so that you can focus on making such a monumental life change. If you have questions after an accident at your substance abuse treatment center, contacting the Tampa substance abuse treatment center attorneys from the Rinaldo Law Group can be the first step toward getting the compensation you deserve. Call our offices today for a free consultation.