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My son was in a mental health facility. When he tried to leave, the guard/nurse tackled him to the ground & broke his shoulder

West Palm Beach, FL |

Does my son have a personal injury claim? Do mental health facilities have some sort of immunity from injury actions when handling patients?

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Best answer

    I agree with most answers here. However, there is some degree of immunity: 394.459(10) LIABILITY FOR VIOLATIONS.—Any person who violates or abuses any rights or privileges of patients provided by this part is liable for damages as determined by law. Any person who acts in good faith in compliance with the provisions of this part is immune from civil or criminal liability for his or her actions in connection with the admission, diagnosis, treatment, or discharge of a patient to or from a facility. However, this section does not relieve any person from liability if such person commits negligence.

    Was your son considered a voluntary or involuntary patient at the time this occurred? Your case is very fact intensive and is a cross between medical malpractice and Baker Act law.

  2. I think he has a claim.
    Of course, these cases are very fact sensitive.
    If the caretaker thought he was preventing harm to your son or someone else, it changes the claim.
    Also, if this is a state facility, there is limited immunity.

  3. The precise circumstances are terribly important. Example: if your son attacked the guard, then you'd have a tough case. But there are certainly scenarios where there could be liability. No matter what, though, your son's injury and his damage model are pretty limited. I understand his shoulder is broken. But med mal claims are very expensive to litigate. It's easy to spend more litigating than might be recovered in settlement.

    Visit with a local med mal lawyer for the best advice.

  4. Maybe. There a number of variables that you will need to discuss in detail with a lawyer. Good luck.

    My answer to your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  5. If your son was "Baker-Acted" he did not have the privilege of leaving the facility. Nevertheless, if he was negligently injured leaving the facility he probably has a case.

    He might even have a case if he was intentionally injured.

    There is no "immunity" generally applicable mental health facilities.

    This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed. You may call me 772-562-4570; email me, or visit my website

  6. Mental Health Facilities do not have an "immunity" from liability. However, liability must be determined. In addition there may be personal injury claim or a medical malpractice case. there are many questions that must be answered such as: 1) the medications your son was taking; 2) doctor's order regarding his supervision; 3) who was the guard's employer (may have been a temp agency or the facility); 4) whether your sone is a minor and 5) what is his diagnosis. It is likely that your son may have a medical malpractice claim if the guard/nurse did not follow orders. There may also be a claim against the guard/nurse personally. Medical malpractice claims and/or a personal injury claim involving a medical facility can be extremely complex. You should contact a local attorney in your area in order to discuss your options.

    DISCLAIMER - Any information provided is not legal advice. There is no attorney client relationship created in this group discussion. Do not rely on informal comminucation in this forum as legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice you should hire an attorney in your State.

  7. This may be a complicated claim depending on the facts, such as is the facility owned by the government, was your son a danger to himself or others when he was tackled, did he resist, etc...

    I recommend that you speak to a local attorney

    Good luck.

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