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Patton Hospital Sexual Abuse Class Action Lawsuit


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Unfortunately, hospital sexual abuse is common. Recently, a social worker was arrested for multiple counts of sexual assault of patients at Patton State Hospital – a mental health hospital. The victims were all patients who were deemed mentally incompetent by the courts. If a member of your family was sexually abused at Patton State Hospital or any other mental health hospital, it is important that you explore the legal options available to you. These hospitals are supposed to be safe places for patients; instead, helpless patients are attacked by those who should be caring for them.

Here at our law firm, we believe that the negligent owners of these hospitals should be held accountable. If you are interested in exploring your legal options, contact the experts here at the Downtown L.A. Law Group immediately. Our lawyers have decades of experience handling all sorts of personal injury claims including sexual abuse claims. We are not afraid to take on any entity or establishment to fight for the rights of victims of sexual abuse.

A Summary of the Recent Arrest of the Hospital Social Worker

On August 5, 2022, Christopher Lee Smart, a 63-years-old man who has been licensed to practice in California in 2011, was arrested on 9 counts of felony sexual assault against mental health patients at Patton State Hospital. The hospital can house up to 1,200 patients and is located in San Bernardino County; the facility is run by the state. Patients of this hospital have been committed by the court system after being found mentally incompetent and unable to stand trial, suffering from serious mental illness, or not guilty due to insanity.

According to the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office, the sexual abuse occurred between October 2014 and December 2018. Charges against the social worker include:

  • 5 counts of rape against someone incapable of giving consent
  • 2 counts of oral copulation on an incompetent person
  • 1 count of sexually penetrating an incompetent person
  • 1 count of sexual battery of an institutionalized individual

A few weeks after his arrest, we has barred from practicing in California. He likely dealt with thousands of patients throughout the years. It is possible that there are many more victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Smart. If you or a family member were sexually abused by Smart or another hospital worker while staying at the Patton State Hospital, you could have grounds to file a lawsuit. If you are ready to speak with a Patton State Hospital sexual abuse lawyer, contact us today.

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Our Latest Verdicts and Settlements

$54 Million

Sexual Assault

$1.93 Million

Security Guard Assault

$600,000

Assault & Battery

$600,000

Assault By Security Guard

$500,000

Premises Liability

$460,000

Back Injury

$420,000

Back Injury

$525,000

Head Trauma
The Rights of Victims of Sexual Abuse at Patton Hospital

Even with the criminal charges still pending, victims and their families have the right to file civil lawsuits for the harm suffered. What are my rights? Do I have the right to sue? Yes – you could have the right to sue. In fact, you could have the right to file a lawsuit against the owners of the hospital. More specifically, you could sue based on negligence.

When it comes to sexual abuse at hospitals, negligence falls on the hospital – or more specifically, to the hospital owners. Negligent hiring, negligent training, and negligent supervision can all lead to incidents and to harm to patients. Some examples of this include failing to subject prospective employees to background checks, failing to properly train employees, allowing employees to be alone with patients, failing to have adequate surveillance, failing to do anything about previous reports of misconduct, etc. Unfortunately, it is common for these establishments to be negligent and put their patients directly in harm’s way.

For more information about whether you have the right to file a lawsuit for sexual abuse that occurred at Patton Hospital, contact the experts here at our law firm as soon as possible.

How to File a Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse at Patton Hospital

Since Patton Hospital is owned by the state, specifically the California Department of State Hospitals, then victims have to pursue government claims. Filing a lawsuit can seem like a daunting task; however, with the appropriate representation, then your lawsuit can be successful.

So, what should you do?

One of the most important things to do is to find a lawyer. It is important that you find a lawyer that has experience in sexual abuse claims as well as in government claims, as these types of claims can be more complex that other claims. With government claims, affected parties must make their complaints directly with the government agency before being able to file a lawsuit in court.

Can I participate in a class action lawsuit? Class action lawsuits arise when many victims were harmed. As of yet, there is no class action lawsuit. However, as more and more victims of Christopher Lee Smart come forward, a class action is likely.

For more information about how you can file a lawsuit for sexual abuse at Patton State Hospital, contact the experts here at our law firm as soon as possible.

What is the Average Value of Hospital Sex Abuse Cases?

It is common for claimants to have questions about case values. However, such questions could be difficult to answer. Ultimately, you could be eligible to recover compensation for medical costs, lost pay, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, funeral/burial costs, punitive damages, and legal fees, for example. The specific type and amount of compensation that you can recover will depend on the details surrounding the case. Of course, the physical injuries resulting from the abuse (like injuries to reproductive organs, injuries to genitals, unwanted pregnancy, sexual transmitted infections, etc.) are important, but when it comes to sexual abuse claims, mental and emotional injuries are often more extensive and can be associated with higher values. In general, sexual abuse cases against hospitals and other establishments can be worth about $1 million – and can often reach multi-million-dollar amounts. For more information about the possible value of your lawsuit, contact the experts here at our law firm today.

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How Long Will It Take to Get a Settlement for a Sexual Abuse Claim?

The time that it takes to ultimately settle your lawsuit depends on many things, including the type of case being filed, the severity of the injuries, and the cooperation of the parties involved. Because sexual abuse is something that no establishment or organization wants to be associated with, some hospitals settle these claims relatively quickly to avoid any negative press. In some cases, a settlement can be reached in just a few months. In general, however, it can take more than a year to get a settlement.

Here at our law firm, our expert sexual abuse lawyers are ready to fight for your rights and get you the settlement that you are owed within a reasonable length of time. For more information, contact the experts here at our law firm today.

The Statute of Limitations – How Long Do I Have to Sue?

All claims are subject to a statute of limitations, or a deadline to sue. If claimants to not file their claims on time, then they can lose their right to sue entirely. So, how long do you have to sue for sexual abuse? In California, victims who were 18 or older when the abuse happened have 10 years from the last incident to file a lawsuit. Victims who were under 18 have a case for child sexual abuse; in these cases, claimants have until age 40 to sue. So, how long do you have to sue? Government claims are subject to much shorter deadlines, so it is important that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible to confirm the time that you have to file your claim.

Contact the Downtown L.A. Law Group Today

Here at the Downtown L.A. Law Group, our personal injury lawyers are committed to representing victims of hospital sexual abuse and helping them recover the payout that they are owed. We know that the thought of filing a lawsuit can be intimidating, especially due to the costs associated with the process. We are dedicated to making our legal services available to all; therefore, we offer free legal services. Our free legal services include free consultations and free second opinions, during which our experts will be available to provide you with all the information that you need to begin or continue your claim These are a part of our Zero-Fee guarantee, so you will not have to pay upfront legal costs for our legal services. In addition, we work on contingency; therefore, our clients will not be required to pay any legal fees at all until winning their claims. If you do not win, you will not be required to pay anything at all.

If you are ready to speak to one of our hospital sexual abuse lawyers, contact us today. We are available 24/7 and are ready to help you every step of the way.


 

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