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When to Sue a Drug and Alcohol Rehab Clinic

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

When we need help treating addiction, drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics are vital resources to make us well. Unfortunately, rehab doesn't always work. And if you've suffered from substandard care in a rehab facility, you may be wondering if you can sue the facility for negligence or malpractice.

Addiction rehab clinics that fail to provide patients with an adequate standard of care can be sued for negligence and be both directly liable for their own malpractice and vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees. Here is what rehab clinic negligence looks like:

Rehab Clinic Negligence

Most drug and alcohol rehab clinics hire a staff consisting of healthcare providers, sometimes including licensed physicians, nurses, and assistants. If a clinic failed to make reasonable inquiries when hiring its staff, and a staff member's negligent care injures a patient, the clinic could be held liable for negligent supervision or retention. Rehab centers could also be liable for patient injuries if employees fail to follow treatment protocols or clinic rules and regulations.

When rehab facilities undertake patient care, they are generally required to ensure that there is sufficient staff on duty at all times to maintain quality patient treatment, and may be held liable for injuries to patients resulting from a staff shortage. Rehab clinics, like any other business, can be sued for slip and falls on their premises and assaults from staff. And they may also be liable for assaults by other patients or patient self-harm if the clinic knew or should have known the patient posed a danger to him or herself.

Rehab Clinic Vicarious Liability

If a treatment facility's employee malpractice injures a patient, the facility itself may be held vicariously liable under a legal doctrine whereby employers are held liable for the negligent acts of their employees. This concept is especially important in medical malpractice cases, because it normally means a party with more financial resources will compensate an injured patient.

Vicarious liability could be limited if a clinic employs staff as independent contractors rather than employees, but generally a rehab clinic can still be vicariously or directly liable for the acts or omissions of healthcare personnel it employs to operate inpatient or outpatient treatment facilities.

If you've been injured due to a rehab clinic's negligence, you should contact an experienced injury attorney in your area to discuss your case.

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