When you or a loved one enters the hospital, you expect competent, professional care. If you or your loved one is sexually abused in the hospital, you may be left wondering where to turn or what to do next.
You might wonder how prevalent sexual abuse is in hospitals. You might also wonder what options you have to hold the responsible party accountable.
How Common Is Sexual Abuse in Hospitals?
One study reported in the National Institutes of Health found that 36 percent of psychiatric units received at least one complaint of sexual abuse in a six-year period. Another report found that 17 women accused one Columbia University physician of abusing them over a 20-year period. The women say that Columbia University didn’t do enough to discover or stop the abuse. Still another report states that a doctor may have abused dozens of children whose parents sought care from the doctor over a period of 30 years.
Sexual Abuse in Hospitals
When a person enters a hospital for care, they expect their care providers to give them professional and competent care. Unfortunately, a person who enters a hospital is usually not in a position to prevent or even report sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of vulnerable individuals in hospital care is an unfortunately common problem in Florida and throughout the United States.
Who Is Responsible for Sexual Abuse in a Hospital?
Both the individual who commits the sexual abuse and the hospital may be responsible for the sexual abuse of an individual in hospital care. Generally, the rule is that an individual care provider is personally accountable for their actions if the actions fall outside of the scope of their duties. However, the hospital may also be liable for failing to supervise its employees or failing to respond appropriately to prior reports of abuse.
Responding to Sexual Abuse in a Hospital
If you or a loved one is the victim of sexual abuse in a hospital, you may experience physical, mental, and emotional trauma. The personal fallout of sexual abuse in a hospital may be long-lasting. In addition to reporting sexual abuse to supervisors and hospital administrators, you should report sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities. Sexual abuse in a hospital is a crime as well as a civil wrong. For those responsible to face criminal penalties, you must make a report to law enforcement for an investigation.
Compensation for Sexual Abuse in a Hospital
In addition to making a police report if you suspect sexual abuse in a hospital, the victim of sexual abuse in a hospital may also deserve financial compensation for their trauma. A victim of sexual abuse may deserve payment for physical, mental, and emotional suffering. In any case where a victim suffers sexual abuse in a hospital, the mental and emotional distress is great. You may deserve compensation that is fair based on the extreme suffering that you have endured because of the sexual abuse.
Grounds for a Hospital Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse in a hospital, there may be a number of legal grounds to bring a claim against the individuals or hospital responsible. Sexual abuse is a crime. The individual responsible may face criminal charges that may include significant time in prison, fines, and restitution. The individual responsible and the hospital may also face civil liability.
There are multiple grounds for civil liability when sexual abuse occurs. First, the individual responsible may face allegations of civil assault, battery, and sexual battery. Additional allegations may include negligence, recklessness, and intentional misconduct. The hospital may also be liable for negligent hiring or supervision because of its failure to identify and stop the sexual assault from occurring.
Medical malpractice may be another grounds for liability in a sexual abuse lawsuit. All medical care providers have a duty to provide competent care. Sexual battery is an intentional and gross failure of the duty to provide competent medical care. In addition to all of the other grounds for criminal and civil liability, medical malpractice may be another avenue for recovery when sexual abuse occurs in a lawsuit.
What Can I Recover If I’m the Victim of Sexual Assault in a Hospital?
If you’re the victim of sexual assault in a hospital, you may receive compensation for your physical, mental, and emotional injuries. Your physical injuries may include bills that you have because of the injuries like additional medical bills. Sexual assault can be complex because the mental and emotional injuries can be devastating regardless of the physical scars. It’s important to remember that you can include pain and suffering and mental injuries as part of your claim.
Although your pain and suffering compensation is often based on your physical injuries, a sexual assault claim may be an exception because the mental and emotional trauma is so great. A sexual assault claim may include significant mental and emotional suffering. An experienced Miami sexual abuse lawyer can help you value your claim and ensure that your physical, mental, and emotional suffering is fairly represented.
Attorneys for Sexual Abuse in a Hospital in Florida
When sexual abuse occurs in a hospital, there are time limits to file a claim. The time limits may be extended if you’re not aware of the abuse immediately when it occurs. There may be varying time limits depending on whether you assert a claim for civil negligence, medical malpractice or both. Even though sexual abuse in hospitals is common, ultimately, you need relief when it happens to you or a loved one. You may take steps to hold wrongdoers accountable and improve the medical care system for everyone.
Contact Our Sexual Assault Attorneys
Do you have questions about the medical care that you received in a hospital? Do you worry that you may be the victim of sexual assault? You have rights. If you’re the victim of sexual assault, you have the right to bring a claim for compensation and hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions.
It’s okay if you’re frustrated and confused when you suspect sexual assault in a hospital. We invite you to contact the personal injury attorneys at Bernstein & Maryanoff for a confidential and understanding consultation about your claim. Contact us today to speak immediately with a member of our team.
About the Author
Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.
Jack Bernstein is a hard-working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you’ve been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.