There is probably nothing more personal than that of a woman giving birth, dealing with a miscarriage, or preparing to have surgery. Unfortunately, the privacy that most people have come to expect in medical matters was shattered recently when it was revealed that about 1,800 patients had been video-recorded without their permission or knowledge while they were undressing and during surgery. This news likely sent shock waves to many who could only imagine themselves in a similar situation. Read on to find out more about this situation and how people facing similar invasions of privacy can sue for money damages.
Intent and Harm
There is little doubt that the situation above was not meant to cause harm and embarrassment, but it did nevertheless. The purpose of the hidden cameras was an attempt to catch medical personnel from helping themselves to medications and was thus installed on drug carts. These recordings not only took shots of the drug cart but of the genital areas and faces of the patients. As you might imagine, the fact that the medical facility didn't mean to cause harm to the patients does nothing to negate the outcome of it. They allowed it to happen and they will very likely be held liable for the resulting lawsuits. To make matters worse, the hospital has yet to reveal who had access to the recorded materials.
When you are the victim of this form of civil tort, you have the right to recoup damages from the personal embarrassment and mental anguish caused by the actions of another. Anytime your privacy is invaded, you may have a cause of action. For example, if the patient's private medical information was inadvertently made public, it would also be considered a breach of privacy. The following types of damages are available for victims of invasions of privacy:
1. Mental anguish – Emotional distress, public humiliation, shame, depression, anxiety, and other trauma caused by the defendant.
2. Public disclosure of private facts – This covers situations where the actions of the defendant were so clearly negligent that it is not necessary to actually prove that any mental anguish occurred.
3. Loss of consortium – Available to family members negatively affected by the harm caused to another family member.
4. Punitive – The harm done was so egregious that an additional monetary sum should be paid to the victim to send a message to others who might engage in the same negligent behavior.
If you are (or think you have been) the victim of an invasion of privacy, speak to a personal injury lawyer at a firm such as Bangel, Bangel & Bangel right away.