Family of Florida Woman Files Lawsuit Against Nursing Care Facility After Rape
The Huffington Post reported that the family of a Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against the nursing home in whose care she was when she was sexually assaulted. The woman, who was described as “severely mentally retarded”, gave birth to a child while in the care of Pensacola Cluster, a health care center in Pensacola, Florida. The woman was described as “non-verbal” and “immobile”. She had lived there about eight years before the incident took place.
Police were unable to determine who raped the woman. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying that they had exhausted their leads. Nonetheless, there is now a child who themselves would provide evidence of DNA. It remains unclear to what extent police were able to demand evidence of individual workers who worked at the facility.
The only other place where others would have had access to the woman is the Escambia Westgate School which caters to adults who have severe intellectual and physical disabilities. The woman spent most of her time at the Pensacola Cluster health care facility. The family believes that she was in the care of the Pensacola Cluster at the time of the assault.
A Difficult Case to Prove
Even though there are a limited number of people who had access to the woman, the unfortunate fact that the police were not able to pin down the assailant leaves the family with a serious problem. If they can’t prove where the rape occurred, it will be very difficult to prove negligence in the nursing home negligence lawsuit.
In order to bring a case against either the health care facility or the school for adults with disabilities, they must prove that either party was negligent in allowing the rape to happen. For instance, if an employee committed the rape, then you have a case for negligent hiring. If some unknown third party committed the rape, then you have a negligent security case.
Without knowing who or how the assault happened, it becomes very difficult to name either party as negligent as they can simply point the finger at one another.
There May be a Case for Medical Malpractice, However
The family may still have a case against Pensacola Cluster, however. According to the complaint, the woman was found to have physical injuries consistent with a sexual assault. There was visible bruising to her hip and her inner thigh. Employees for the Escambia Westgate School repeatedly informed Pensacola about her injuries and expressed concern for the woman. Pensacola Cluster, however, never treated the woman.
It’s notable that, because the woman is immobile, she would not have been able to give herself the injuries. The family and Westgate employees have both noted changes to the woman’s behavior including crying and apparent nightmares. These would be consistent with emotional distress.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney
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