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Miami Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Miami Personal Injury Attorney > Family Files Wrongful Death After Autistic Boys Wanders Off Grounds

Family Files Wrongful Death After Autistic Boys Wanders Off Grounds


This is becoming a much larger concern for modern medical facilities. Facilities that treat the mentally ill, those with memory care issues, or others who require round-the-clock care can wander off the grounds often endangering themselves. A number of high-profile lawsuits have been filed against memory care facilities over this issue. This is the first lawsuit we’ve heard concerning an autistic boy.

According to the lawsuit, the boy escaped from a children’s home and was found drowned in the Ohio river. His parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility alleging that they were negligent in allowing the boy to wander off the grounds.

In these cases, they do have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their guests. But often, it can be unclear whether or not the lawsuit should be filed under a theory of medical malpractice or simple negligence.

What happened? 

The boy was discovered in the Ohio river drowned. The facility is accused of failing to alert the family until well after the boy had died. In fact, they waited so long to alert the family that the family heard of the boy’s death through other sources. The plaintiff contends that this is an offense to the basic standards of decency and morality held by society. The children’s care home publicly stated that they are cooperating with authorities on the matter and continue to mourn the boy’s loss.

The parents contend that they explicitly informed the children’s care center that the boy would attempt to flee the grounds. In this case, the care center is accused of not heeding their warnings and allowing the boy to escape.

Since wandering off the grounds is a known problem for those with memory care, children’s centers, and other types of 24-hour care, preventing patients from wandering off the grounds is a known consideration for these centers. In cases where they fail in this duty of care to protect their wards, they can be sued if the patient injures or kills themselves.

Is this medical malpractice or simple negligence? 

The lawsuit has been filed against a facility that provides health care services. In Florida, that would not be enough to force the case to be tried as medical malpractice. Interestingly, because medical malpractice lawsuits often cost more to litigate and there is a lot of red tape around them, doctors occasionally find themselves in the position of arguing that a case is medical malpractice while the plaintiff argues the opposite. However, preventing patients from absconding from the premises might have been a part of the plaintiff’s care plan. Either way, the care facility should pay for this death.

Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Alan Goldfarb, P.A. files lawsuits against nursing homes and residential treatment centers that fail in their duty of care to protect their patients. Call our Miami personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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