Our law firm has handled thousands of New Mexico nursing home abuse claims and is ready to help your family. We offer free consultations.
Families rely on nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and other long-term care options to protect the health and well-being of their spouses, parents and grandparents. Sadly, abuse and neglect are frighteningly common in these settings. Despite numerous regulations at the state and federal levels, countless nursing homes have been cited for abusing or neglecting residents.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases We Handle in New Mexico
Nursing home abuse refers to any form of mistreatment or harm inflicted upon residents in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and similar institutions. This abuse can occur through various means and can have serious physical, emotional, or financial consequences for the elderly or vulnerable individuals residing in these facilities.
To succeed in a nursing home abuse claim in New Mexico, you typically need to establish the following elements of your case:
- Duty of Care: You must demonstrate that the nursing home or care facility owed a duty of care to the resident who was allegedly abused. This duty of care typically arises from the facility's responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment, as well as adequate care and treatment for residents.
- Breach of Duty: You need to show that the nursing home or its staff breached their duty of care. This can involve proving that they failed to meet the appropriate standard of care expected in the industry, which includes adhering to state and federal regulations governing nursing home care.
- Causation: You must establish a direct link between the breach of duty and the harm suffered by the resident. In other words, you need to demonstrate that the abuse or neglect directly led to the resident's injuries or suffering.
- Damages: To succeed in a nursing home abuse claim, you need to show that the resident suffered damages as a result of the abuse or neglect. These damages can include physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
We are extensively familiar with the various types of abuse that can occur in long-term care settings. Our team understands how to strategically navigate these matters and protect the interests of your loved one in and out of the courtroom.
Our lawyers at the Harvey & Foote Law Firm are prepared to assist you with cases involving:
- Abuse by Another Resident: Sometimes, residents can engage in aggressive or violent behavior towards their fellow residents, resulting in physical, emotional, or psychological harm. This can include physical altercations, bullying, or intimidation.
- Abuse by Staff: This form of abuse occurs when the staff members responsible for the care of residents engage in mistreatment. It can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, verbal abuse, or other forms of harm.
- Assisted Living Facility Abuse: Assisted living facilities can also be settings for abuse. These facilities provide a level of care and support that falls between independent living and nursing homes, but abuse can still occur in this environment.
- Group Home Abuse: Group homes are designed to provide a more homelike environment for individuals with special needs. Abuse may occur here due to inadequate supervision or poor management.
- Physical Abuse: This includes any intentional use of force that results in bodily harm, such as hitting, pushing, slapping, or rough handling.
- Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse involves any behavior that causes psychological harm, such as humiliation, isolation, intimidation, or verbal threats.
- Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse entails non-consensual sexual acts, harassment, or any unwanted sexual advances towards residents, who may not be capable of giving informed consent due to cognitive impairment or vulnerability.
- Financial Abuse: This form of abuse involves the mismanagement, theft, or exploitation of a resident's financial resources. It may include identity theft, fraud, or unauthorized use of funds or property.
- Medication Errors: Negligent administration of medication, including overmedication, under-medication, or the wrong medication, can have severe health consequences for residents.
- Failure to Perform CPR: In emergencies, if staff fails to provide necessary life-saving procedures like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), it can lead to severe harm or even death.
- Elopement and Wandering: Some residents may have cognitive impairments or dementia and may wander away from the facility, putting themselves at risk of injury or exposure to dangerous situations.
- Falls: Nursing home residents are often at a higher risk of falling, and inadequate fall prevention measures can lead to injuries such as fractures, head trauma, or other complications.
- Choking: Choking incidents can occur when residents are not adequately supervised during meal times or when staff fails to address choking risks.
- Dehydration: Failure to provide residents with sufficient water can lead to dehydration, which can be especially dangerous for older adults.
- Malnutrition: Inadequate nutrition can lead to weight loss, muscle atrophy, and various health problems, which are often the result of neglect.
- Poor Hygiene: Neglecting residents' personal hygiene, including bathing, changing clothing, or providing clean living conditions, can lead to various health issues and discomfort.
- Sepsis: Infections left untreated can develop into sepsis, a life-threatening condition, if staff neglects to provide timely medical attention.
- Bedsores: Prolonged immobility and poor care can lead to the development of painful and potentially dangerous bedsores, which are preventable with proper care.
- Wrongful Death: In the most severe cases, nursing home abuse can lead to the untimely death of a resident due to negligence, mistreatment, or neglect.
Who is Liable for Nursing Home Abuse?
Liability for nursing home abuse can extend to various parties or entities involved in the operation and oversight of the nursing home or care facility. The specific individuals or entities that can be held liable may vary depending on the circumstances of the abuse.
Here are some potential parties who can be held liable for nursing home abuse:
- Nursing Home Facilities: The nursing home itself, as an entity, can be held liable for abuse that occurs on its premises. This includes the nursing home's management, ownership, and administrative staff. The facility is responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents and for complying with federal and state regulations governing nursing home care.
- Staff Members: Individual staff members, including nurses, aides, orderlies, and other caregivers, can be held personally liable if they are found to have engaged in abusive behavior, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. Liability may be based on their actions, omissions, or failure to meet the standard of care.
- Management and Supervisors: Nursing home administrators and supervisors can be held liable if they were aware of abusive conduct but failed to take appropriate action to prevent or address it. This can include inadequate training, insufficient staffing levels, or a lack of response to reported abuse.
- Third-Party Contractors: If the nursing home contracts with third-party vendors for services such as security, transportation, or medical care, these contractors may also be held liable if their employees are involved in abuse or neglect.
- Medical Professionals: If the nursing home employs medical professionals, such as doctors or nurse practitioners, and they are found to be negligent or abusive in their care, they can be held liable.
- Ownership or Corporate Entities: In cases where the nursing home is part of a larger corporate chain, the corporate entity or ownership group may be held liable for abuse if they were aware of systemic issues and failed to take corrective action.
- Government Regulatory Agencies: In some cases, government regulatory agencies may be held liable if they were negligent in their oversight and monitoring of nursing homes. Their failure to enforce regulations and standards can contribute to abuse and neglect issues.
- Contractual Obligations: If the nursing home has specific contractual obligations to provide care, and they fail to meet those obligations, any entities or individuals party to such contracts may be held liable.
- Visitor or Resident Family Members: In rare cases, if a family member or visitor to the nursing home is responsible for abuse, they may be held liable for their actions.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
You should never assume that your loved one will directly tell you about any abuse or neglect they are experiencing. Many nursing home residents are intimidated into silence or feel powerless to speak up about the abuse. Others may have limited mental faculties that prevent them from easily communicating or even recognizing that something is wrong. Consequently, you must watch out for the warning signs of abuse or neglect when visiting your loved one.
Keep in mind that abuse could be perpetrated by a facility employee, another resident, or a visitor. The abuse may be physical, emotional, financial, or sexual.
If you have reason to suspect abuse or neglect, you should promptly report your suspicions to the facility’s administration and document as much as possible, including any injuries sustained by your loved one. You may need to remove your loved one from the facility if they are in danger. Then, get in touch with our legal professionals, who can investigate the situation further and determine whether you have a strong Albuquerque nursing home abuse claim. We can also help you formally report suspected abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities and help you access resources that can help your loved one.
Do Not Wait to Reach Out
You only have a limited time to take legal action for nursing home abuse or neglect. Elderly adults have the right to live in dignity and without fear, and our firm is committed to helping families enforce that right. Let us help you hold responsible parties accountable and get your family the compensation you deserve.
Nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide a reasonably safe environment and an acceptable level of care to all residents, and they can be held liable for damages that result from abuse or neglect. A facility may be liable for the actions of its employees if it can be proven that the facility acted negligently. Examples of negligence that may trigger nursing home liability include understaffing a facility, overworking employees, failing to sufficiently monitor the facility, failing to conduct adequate background checks, and ignoring reports of abuse or neglect.
Through an Albuquerque nursing home abuse claim, our attorneys can fight to get your family just compensation for all losses, including:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life