Decoding Laura’s Law: What this Path-breaking New Law can mean for You and Your Family

  • Jun 01 2016
  • Gilleon Law Firm, APC

In a recent event in San Diego, the Board of Supervisors for San Diego approved ‘Laura’s Law’, a measure that permits courts to force certain violent and mentally ill people into compulsory outpatient psychiatric treatment. Laura’s Law helps reluctant individuals or individuals who have been a part of severe brain injury cases, in need of health treatment, to receive proper education and resources that will help their mental state. Laura’s Law is California’s state law which provides community-based, assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) to a small population of individuals who meet the legal criteria and as a result of their mental illness are unable to voluntarily access the community mental health services. Laura’s Law across the country has proved to be successful and has enabled individuals of brain injury cases or severe mental illness to access the treatment they need in the community.

In a case couple of years ago, Theresa Bish, a former chair of the county’s Mental Health Board, felt that the In-Home Outreach Team (IHOT) expansion was not really enough. Vincent, Bish’s brother, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had a lot of trouble with medication compliance. According to Bish and various reports, he frequently cycled in and out of jails and hospitals over the course of 15 long years, where he was provided with the necessary required medication and treatment. However, in the year 2003, Vincent committed suicide. According to Bish, Vincent needed something beyond his medication, case management and a team of dedicated mental health care workers. She felt that what Vincent needed was Laura’s Law. Bish further went to explain that the IHOT program is voluntary while Laura’s Law requires a court-ordered outpatient treatment.

There are instances where some people with severe mental illness or brain injury cases feel that they do not need any help and refuse to get the required medication or treatment. This can lead to being agonizing for their family members too. In such a case, family members can seek the assistance of a brain injury lawyer and get the required legal support to ensure that the affected member gets the necessary medication and treatment. Using Laura’s law, a brain injury attorney, with the consent of a concerned family member, can ask the judge to order the affected relative to undergo an outpatient treatment. The patient, however, must meet certain conditions which also include having a history of hospitalizations or being considered unlikely to survive in the community without supervision. Laura’s Law proves to be excellent for those seeking help from the court, in order to help treat their affected family member. Laura’s Law will be beneficial as:

• It will reduce the number of suicide attempts
• It will reduce prolonged hospital stays
• It will reduce additional charges that are financially draining for the family members
• It will reduce the chances of violent behaviour
• It will help keep the people around safe.

IF you have experienced brain injury cases like these, which have resulted in severe mental illness, you may be entitled to compensation. At Gilleon Law Firm, APC we welcome you, along with the opportunity to talk to you about your situation. Here, you can be rest assured on receiving excellent legal representation from few of the best brain injury lawyers. While our offices are located in San Diego, we are also proud to serve you in Orange and Los Angeles as well. You could also contact us at our office at (619) 702-8623.

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