When you place a loved one in a group home, psychiatric institution, or any other mental health care facility, you expect them to receive compassionate, quality care. Sadly, this is not always the case. Though many mental health care facilities conduct themselves ethically and strive to provide the highest standard of service, others may be negligent or outright malicious when caring for vulnerable patients.
If someone you love suffered at the hands of neglectful or abusive staff at a mental health facility, Tommy James Law is here to help. Our Jefferson County mental health facility abuse lawyer has over 25 years of experience and is committed to fighting for victims of institutional abuse. We frequently represent people with mental illnesses or special needs and recognize what is at stake. No matter the complexity of your case, we will work to hold the facility and its employees accountable and recover the compensation your loved one deserves.
Contact us online or call (205) 843-5086 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our firm serves clients throughout the state of Alabama.
Types of Mental Health Facility Abuse
Ideally, a group home or mental health facility gives people suffering from disabilities or mental illness the chance to build a community with others in similar situations. Unfortunately, several factors inherent to these facilities can also make patients more vulnerable to abuse or neglect. For example, patients at these institutions are inherently isolated and may not have full access to communication tools that would allow them to report misconduct. Depending on the severity of their mental health problems, some may have difficulty communicating in the first place.
Knowing these realities, some unscrupulous employees at these facilities have been known to exploit their positions of power and take advantage of patients. Keep in mind that institutional abuse is not necessarily physical.
Mental health facility abuse can come in several forms, including:
- Physical Abuse. Some caretakers at these facilities may use unnecessary force or resort to physical violence to control or punish patients. Examples include striking, choking, and the use of excessive restraints. Deliberately forcing a patient to live in unsanitary conditions or refusing them basic necessities is also considered physical abuse.
- Financial Abuse. Depending on the patient’s age and circumstances, a caretaker could attempt to financially exploit them by manipulating them into transferring funds or writing checks. Other forms of financial abuse include selling a patient’s personal information or property without their explicit consent.
- Emotional Abuse. Mental health facility employees have an obligation to treat patients with respect and sensitivity to their needs. Screaming at, insulting, or ignoring a patient can quickly become emotional abuse.
- Neglect. Not all types of institutional abuse require the direct inflicting of harm. An institution is neglectful if they do not ensure their patients have consistent access to food, water, clean facilities, and medical care.
Detecting abuse in these situations is not always easy, especially if you are not able to visit your loved one often or they are unable or unwilling to communicate. You must make every effort to talk to your loved one to confirm they are happy with their treatment and are not experiencing any form of mistreatment.
If you find physical evidence of abuse or harm (such as unexplained marks on the body or obviously unhygienic conditions) or notice your loved one has become more withdrawn and refuses to discuss whether anything is wrong, it may be time to seek legal advice. Our Jefferson County mental health facility abuse attorney can review your loved one’s circumstances and advise whether you have a case.
$1 Million Jury Verdict
$1 Million Settlement
$1.2 Million Settlement
Detecting abuse early is important for two reasons: One, you want to make sure your loved one is in a safe, supportive environment. Two, you generally only have a limited time to take legal action against a mental health facility or its employees.
In Alabama, a person typically has two years from the date of the most recent injury to file a claim. It does not matter if you only discover mistreatment later on: The clock starts ticking as soon as the abuse or neglect occurs. If the abuse or neglect results in death, you will have two years from the date of the victim’s passing to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to take legal action against the specific employees who perpetrated the abuse, the administrators of the facility (who were responsible for hiring and monitoring those employees), and the owner of the institution. Our team at Tommy James Law can determine who is liable in your case.
Our Jefferson County mental health facility abuse lawyer will fight to recover compensation for all relevant losses, including:
- All medical bills related to the abuse or neglect
- Psychological counseling expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
The sooner you get in touch, the better. We have what it takes to win these cases and will fight to protect you and your loved one’s interests from beginning to end.
If you suspect your loved one may be the victim of mental health facility abuse, do not hesitate to call (205) 843-5086 or contact us online. We also handle cases involving daycare abuse and troubled teen facility abuse.