A developmentally disabled 22-year-old man died in 2007 when he choked on a bagel after being left unsupervised, despite medical orders to the contrary. Now, a new bill named in his honor – the Stephen Komnino’s Law — will make it more difficult for that kind of tragedy to happen again in New Jersey.

Likewise, another bill will provide similar protections for developmentally disabled children who are entrusted to the care of a private agency. Known as Tyler Banuls’ Law, it was written in honor of an autistic teenager who died after abuse from his peers during a period of neglect by his caretakers.

Both bills provide significant new protections for the developmentally disabled in New Jersey. While victims of abuse and neglect have long had recourse available under state personal injury law, the additional rules will help to prevent injury from ever happening in the first place.

A Look at New Jersey’s New Protections for the Developmentally Disabled

Among other things, the new rules require the following:

  • DHS (Department of Human Services) and DCH (Department of Children and Families) must make at least three annual, unannounced visits to state-licensed care facilities.
  • DHS must file a report of any abuse or neglect within 24 hours, and then follow up on that report within 48 hours.
  • Family members/guardians must be allowed to observe or attend investigations into allegations of neglect or abuse (and to represent children-victims in those investigations).
  • New Jersey must provide stricter punishment for certain abuse-related crimes, including a case manager or supervisor’s failure to report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a developmentally disabled adult or child.

New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney for the Developmentally Disabled

No one deserves exploitation, abuse, or neglect, especially the developmentally disabled — people who depend on the care of professionals.

At The Law Offices of James C. DeZao, we provide comprehensive legal representation for developmentally disabled children, adults, and their families. If you have questions about how these new measures could impact your family, give our office a call at (973) 358-6134 and talk with a New Jersey personal injury attorney today.