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Residential treatment centers (RTCs) help people struggling with behavioral, chemical, and other issues. Millions of people have entrusted RTCs to provide top-quality service and to take care of loved ones.
Unfortunately, RTCs also have a long history of abuse and other wrongful conduct. Residents suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally, and few RTCs are ever held accountable.
If you or someone you care about is concerned about abuse, or if you have observed it, you should meet with an experienced attorney. Help is on the way.
Types of Abuse in Residential Treatment Centers
Abuse is often difficult to see. Many caretakers do not visit their loved ones regularly in the RTC. And when they do stop by, it is often for only short periods of time. Furthermore, the fact that your loved one is receiving treatment might account for any “odd” behavior that you notice.
Nevertheless, some residents regress considerably while in care, and their family members contact us to express fears that their loved one is being abused. Our law firm has litigated all kinds of cases and has held RTC responsible for:
- Medication errors
- Sexual assault
- Physical harm
- Emotional abuse
Any RTC that allows staff to mistreat residents is certainly responsible and should pay compensation to those injured.
Identifying Signs of Abuse
When you visit a loved one in an RTC, keep your eyes peeled for any signs of abuse or neglect, and remember to follow up with staff if you have questions. For example, you should look for:
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, fractures, cuts, or abrasions. A resident might be getting abused by staff, or they could have wandered away from the facility and injured themselves in a slip and fall.
- Dramatic weight loss that has no explanation, which might be a sign of malnutrition or inadequate medical treatment.
- Trips to the hospital that staff never tell you about. This suggests the RTC is hiding the injury or illness because they know they are to blame.
- Sexually transmitted diseases or infections, which are clear warning signs of sexual abuse.
- Fearful behavior from the resident, which might indicate they are being tormented physically or emotionally.
If you see something, say something. Management at the RTC should investigate and fully address any concerns you have. If you are not satisfied with management’s answers, then you should seek out legal representation.
How RTCs Make Problems Worse
Sometimes, abuse or neglect in a facility is the result of a single “bad apple” employee. However, in our experience, certain RTCs are breeding grounds of abuse and/or neglect, and the management of the facility is fully to blame. Many facilities attempt to cut corners in order to save a few pennies and in the process they compromise the safety and care of their residents.
Certain mistakes we have seen include:
- Inadequate supervision of staff. Many RTCs do not offer adequate training and have poor oversight programs. Many allow staff members too much discretion and never hold them accountable when problems are raised.
- Missing background checks. A treatment center should fully investigate an applicant’s background, including job history, and criminal record. If an RTC fails to perform an adequate check, they might hire someone who is a clear danger to the residents.
- Inadequate staffing. The staff on duty might be insufficient to fully care for residents. As a result, staff is often overworked and stressed, contributing to neglectful or abusive behavior. Some facilities make sure they are fully staffed during visiting hours but pare back during the rest of the week.
- Covering up mistakes. Some treatment facilities try to avoid a lawsuit by lying to loved ones and trying to sweep problems under the rug.
- Coercing a patient to accept a certain diagnosis so that they can be admitted as a patient and billed for treatment. This is a clear example of fraud and also quite damaging to the person who might not even have a problem that needs to be “treated.”
Any of these behaviors can make the RTC fully liable for your loved one’s injuries, and you should fully document any that you see. An attorney can follow up and get to the root of the problem.
Why Hire Us?
It isn’t easy to sue a Residential Treatment Center, and family members who try to do so on their own are at a decided disadvantage. Many RTCs are owned by gigantic corporations which can pay for armies of lawyers at their disposal. The RTC industry as a whole is also very worried about negative publicity, so they have an incentive to aggressively fight any lawsuit.
To be successful, you need an experienced RTC abuse attorney in your corner. Bringing a lawsuit is a complicated, confusing process, and abuse and neglect cases have their own complications. For example, the loved one being abused might not be in the right mental state to offer compelling testimony of the abuse they receive. This situation requires a creative attorney who understands the rules of evidence.
Based on our experience, we know how to build cases against abusive and negligent RTCs:
- We offer compassionate legal guidance to you and your loved ones as you explain the abuse. We want to fully understand the extent of the maltreatment so that we can hold the RTC accountable.
- The experienced lawyers at our firm investigate each case so that we have all the helpful evidence necessary to support our positions. As part of the investigation, we can obtain medical records, consult with medical experts, interview witnesses, and visit the facility.
- Our attorneys devise a legal strategy that is appropriate given the facts and circumstances of the case, as well as the current state of the law.
- We pursue all remedies on our clients’ behalf. We can receive compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, as well as the cost of treating injuries.
An Advocate for You and Your Family
Don’t let residential treatment centers and their corporate lawyers hush up rampant abuse and neglect. Instead, take control of your case today.
Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. is a leading law firm serving North Dakota, Texas, and New Mexico. We have many satisfied clients and hope to add you to our list. For help, or to talk to one of our lawyers, please call 800-433-2408.