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California Rehab Facility Negligence Attorneys

California drug and rehab negligence lawyer

The California drug and rehab facility negligence lawyers of Bisnar Chase are dedicated to making sure justice is done in rehab harm cases. When a person has suffered due to the negligence of a rehab facility or its staff, we can help.

As a person is checked into a rehabilitation center, they are placing their life in the hands of the staff. That clinic has a vital duty of care. But if they are negligent in their duties, it can have catastrophic results.

Negligence can take different forms, but it boils down to a treatment facility failing in its duty to patients.

For expert help and support, contact our California drug and rehab facility negligence attorneys. They treat every case and client with the compassion they deserve, and are dedicated to seeing justice done.

Call (949) 203-3814 now for immediate help, or click here to contact Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys.


Rehab Facility Dangers


Before discussing rehab center negligence – and how a skilled rehab negligence lawyer can bring wrongdoers to justice – it is important to know what a rehab center does.

When a person is struggling with an addiction and seeking treatment, they may turn to supposed experts for help.

There are different kinds of rehab centers, designed to meet different needs. The two main types are:

Inpatient facilities A type of live-in center which patients will stay at 24 hours per day for the duration of their treatment. Patients can check themselves in, or may be checked in by another person in extreme circumstances.

Outpatient Facilities Patients can live normal lives while visiting an outpatient center for scheduled treatments. Many patients start out by staying at an inpatient facility, before transitioning to outpatient clinic care.

Some of the steps for recovery that you are likely to experience at an inpatient rehab center in California include:

  • Detox – Short for detoxification. This is the process of clearing a person's body of an addictive drug or substance.
  • Rehabilitation – Designed to change the patient’s mindset and get to the root of their harmful substance use. Can include individual and group therapy sessions, sports, activities and more.
  • Aftercare – Ongoing support, designed to develop coping mechanisms and reinforce the progress made through rehabilitation.

Most lawsuits are launched due to facility negligence while patients are going through detox.

When patients are detoxing they are often at their most vulnerable. This is when they need the most support. Being in the care of a negligent facility could put that patient in real danger.

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What is Rehab Facility Negligence?


Rehab facility negligence refers to the failure of staff members to provide the proper level of care for their patients.

This can include failures in care, supervision, medicating and more.

California has strict laws in place to protect patients while they are living in a 24-hour rehab facility.

The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act is a long and complicated piece of legal legislation. But it has a couple of key guidelines that relate specifically to rehab clinics. As far as the law is concerned, those who are living in rehab facilities are classed as ‘dependent adults.’

The law states that dependent adults who are receiving treatment should not be subjected to:

  • Abuse, neglect, abandonment, or any other behavior which could cause physical or mental harm.
  • A carer or member of staff depriving them of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical or mental harm.

If anyone deprives a patient of the services they need to detox safely, it is a clear case of negligence.

Medical Malpractice:
It is important to note that rehab facility negligence refers to the actions and mistakes of rehab center staff. It does not cover medical malpractice. This falls under a different type of lawsuit which Bisnar Chase does not handle.

If you are unsure whether your case is a result of negligence or medical malpractice, call our California drug and rehab facility lawyers for guidance.


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How Dangerous is Rehab Facility Negligence?


Rehab facility negligence can be fatal.

It is a huge step for a person to take the plunge and accept the help of a rehab center. Different people become aware that they need help in fighting addiction at different moments.

Some people might check themselves into a rehab center once they become aware that they are losing control, or are dependent on an addictive substance. Others need to hit rock bottom before they will accept help.

When patients are in this helpless state, they need the highest quality of support, supervision and care to get through it.

When a rehab facility’s staff is negligent in its duty to provide that care, it can have disastrous consequences. These may include self-harm, suicide, and other serious side effects.

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Types of Rehab Facility Negligence


There are several types of negligence which can occur in California drug and alcohol rehab facilities. These include:

  • Sub-par Patient Evaluation

    When a patient is checked into a rehabilitation facility, the staff should be fully aware of their personal state and situation. This will allow them to provide the care and treatment needed. A failure to do so constitutes negligence and can result in a dangerous situation for the patient.

  • Supervision

    Rehab patients are often in a particularly vulnerable state. In some cases, they may even be suicidal. Whether they are at a drug or alcohol rehabilitation center, it is vital that such patients are given proper support and supervision for their own safety.

  • Failure to provide a safe environment

    A rehab facility must be kept in a safe condition for its patients. It must be kept clean and hygienic, with steps taken to minimize situational risks. These can include slip-and-fall accidents and hostile patient interactions. This could also mean keeping patients with a tendency for harm or self-harm away from potentially-dangerous objects.

  • Unfit Staff

    Every rehab center must make sure it has the right staff in place to provide a safe and caring environment for patients. Staff must be properly qualified and trained. If a facility does not have suitable staff in place, it may be subject to vicarious liability.

  • Abuse

    Drug and alcohol rehab center patients can also be harmed through abuse. This is not a product of negligence, but is still a serious danger. It can involve physical, mental, or even sexual abuse. Nursing home abuse has long been a problem in elderly care facilities, and those same issues apply in rehab centers. As with nursing home neglect and abuse, such rehab harm can deeply affect patients, causing physical and emotional distress.

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Case Study: Bisnar Chase Wins $11 Million Verdict After California Rehab Center Suicide


Bisnar Chase won a huge $11 million verdict for the family of a man who died by suicide while attending rehab. His death was caused by facility negligence.

John Cunningham, 58, was checked in to a residential rehab facility in California in 2015. He had been battling a dependence on prescription drugs such as Ativan and Xanax for about four years.

The facility was informed of Mr. Cunningham’s history of suicidal thoughts and hospitalizations. However, serious negligence was shown in the handling of his detox period.

Personal injury lawyer H. Gavin Long of Bisnar Chase law firm. Personal injury trial lawyer H. Gavin Long of Bisnar Chase.

Mr. Cunningham was taken to hospital three times in five days due to the severity of his withdrawal symptoms. He was kept isolated while detoxing and was deprived of his depression medication. Staff failed to properly supervise or support the patient, and Mr. Cunningham committed suicide after being left alone for several hours.

The rehab center was linked to the Church of Scientology and used the practice of Narconon. This is a method of addiction treatment which is widely regarded as dangerous by medical experts. Mr. Cunningham’s family, which had been unaware of the Scientology link before his death, contacted the rehab facility negligence lawyers of Bisnar Chase for help in seeking justice.

John Cunningham’s wife and daughters were offered settlements of $100,000 and $350,000. But personal injury lawyer Gavin Long, of Bisnar Chase, decided to take the case to trial.

He argued the case in front of a jury in 2019 and recorded a major victory. The jury returned a verdict awarding $11 million to the victim’s family members.

Long said the verdict finally gives Mr. Cunningham’s family justice. It also sends a message to treatment facilities that they will be held accountable if they do not provide proper care to their patients.

Lawyer H. Gavin Long, said:
“It is the job of treatment and rehab centers to care for people when they are at their most vulnerable. These facilities have a very strict duty of care for their patients. When they fall short of that duty, it can result in tragic consequences. This happens far too often, and it is vital that we hold them accountable.”


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Is Rehab Center Negligence Common?


Southern California is a hotbed for drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers. In Orange County alone there are more than 300 rehab clinics. That is just the tip of the iceberg, with many others running throughout Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.

Southern California has a total of more than 1,100 registered rehab centers. That does not include the high numbers of unlicensed ‘sober living homes’ which continue to spring up.


The majority of these care facilities provide important services and expert help for those trying to beat a dependence on drugs or alcohol.

But there are some rehab centers which fall far short of these expected standards. There are far too many examples of rehab facility negligence putting patients at risk of further harm – and even wrongful death.

The Orange County Register produced a series of reports on the issues discovered at some California rehab centers. Their findings show the extreme risk that rehab negligence victims face.

A lack of regulation and inspection is blamed for the terrifying rise in poor-quality rehab centers putting patients at risk.

  • Someone dies every two weeks on average while under the care of a licensed California rehab center.
  • More than 500 complaints are launched regarding rehab clinic care every year in California.
  • It is estimated that about 140 people died during detox at California rehab centers from 2012-2017.

A California rehab facility negligence lawyer can help those who have been impacted by poor rehab practices.

Did You Know?... Costa Mesa has one of the highest per-capita rehab center rates, with more than 100 clinics for a population of 110,000.

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Rehab Center Negligence: What is Narconon?


Narconon is a term which has been linked with some rehab center negligence cases.

Narconon is an organization which runs dozens of residential rehab centers across the world, using a specific method of addiction treatment. It is strongly associated with the Church of Scientology and has proven to be extremely controversial.

The Narconon method is based on the theories of L. Ron Hubbard – the founder of Scientology. It claims that addiction is caused by traces of a drug being stored in the body. Narconon believes that addiction can be cured by flushing those traces out.

The web page for the Church of Scientology, which is closely linked to Narconon addiction treatment.

But experts say no research exists backing Narconon as an effective practice. They say that the Narconon method is not based on scientific fact and can be medically unsafe.

Several Narconon facilities in California have been cited by inspectors. Their violations include giving patients medication without being authorized to do so, keeping alcohol on-site, and failing to provide proper bedding.

In addition, there have been several publicized deaths at Narconon facilities, as well as a host of lawsuits against the organization.

Many cases are settled out of court, but Gavin Long of Bisnar Chase is one of the few drug rehab negligence lawyers in California to challenge Narconon in court – winning a large jury verdict for the family of John Cunningham.

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When to Sue a Drug or Alcohol Rehab Clinic


A rehab facility negligence attorney should be hired when a patient has been harmed due to the negligent action or inaction of a rehab center’s staff.

As we have outlined, negligence can occur in a wide range of ways. No matter what form it takes, it can seriously impact patients. When this happens, the patient or their family can seek justice through the legal system.

A skilled California rehab negligence lawyer can help clients secure compensation and make sure these facilities are held liable for their failings.

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What Information Does Your Rehab Facility Negligence Lawyer Need?


The law firm of Bisnar Chase will always assess the details of a case before taking it on.

Our expert rehab negligence attorneys will look to build a clear picture of how the detox/rehab death or injury occurred. This is vital in developing an effective legal case.

They will need to know:

  1. The rehab or detox facility involved.
  2. How the victim came to be harmed.
  3. How the victim came to be at the facility. Was it a voluntary check-in, and was payment involved?
  4. The background of the victim:
    • Family life
    • How they came to be addicted
    • How the addiction was sustained
    • Did they have any previous rehab or detox facility history?
    • Have they previously had suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide?

This information will allow our specialists to properly assess your case and offer expert help and guidance.

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Bisnar Chase is the Right Firm for You


Bisnar Chase has established itself as a premier California law firm over the last 40 years. Our skilled attorneys are extremely successful in securing justice for their clients. They have collected more than $500 million for their clients, with an outstanding 96% success rate.

Beyond compensation, our firm believes in providing superior representation with a personal touch. We understand that addictions and rehab can be sensitive subjects that deeply impact families and individuals.

Our California rehab negligence lawyers treat every case and client with the compassion that they deserve. They build strong attorney-client relationships and provide the support needed to get through their ordeal.

Call Bisnar Chase now on (949) 203-3814, or click here to contact us.

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