Can a facility be sued for not properly supervising a mentally disabled person who was injured?

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Can a facility be sued for not properly supervising a mentally disabled person who was injured?

My sister attends a public facility; she is 19 with down syndrome. The facility she goes to did not supervise her to the point where a male entered the girls bathroom that she was in and raped her. The facility did not report this nor did they call the parents; they just dropped her off and said a couple pokes might of happened. What should we do? Should we speak to a personal injury attorney? We’re in Manatee County, FL.

Asked on September 8, 2010 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The facility could be sued for negligence for failing to adequately supervise your sister.  Negligence is based on failure to exercise due care, that degree of care that the facility should have exercised to prevent foreseeable injury.  Your negligence claim would have to establish that the facility owed a duty of care to your sister, breached the duty of care and that breach of duty caused your sister's injury.

In addition to the civil suit against the facility for negligence, a separate criminal case could be brought against the rapist.  You should contact the district attorney's office regarding the criminal case.

With regard to the civil case for negligence, it would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.  You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or your sister will lose her rights forever in the matter.  Your sister's guardian or a person designated as her guardian could file the lawsuit on your sister's behalf.


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