Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
We rely on nursing home facilities to care for our loved ones when they can no longer live independently. Unfortunately, not all facilities use dedication and care when tending to the elderly and disabled. If your loved one was the victim of nursing home abuse, contact the Albuquerque personal injury attorneys at Fine Law Firm and schedule a free review of your case. Our nursing home abuse lawyers hold facilities accountable for negligence.
Why Choose Us?
We are one of the most respected law firms in New Mexico. Albuquerque families rely on us to help them gain compensation for their economic and non-economic losses.
- We have over 40 years of experience successfully representing victims of personal injury, including nursing home abuse, with a 99% success rate.
- We maintain close, personal contact with our clients, treating them like family and offering candid advice whenever necessary.
- We operate on a contingency-fee basis – we only collect fees if we can secure a settlement for our clients.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
If your loved one suffered harm at the hands of a nursing home facility, you may think you can navigate the process of filing an injury claim on your own. However, an Albuquerque nursing home abuse attorney’s guidance is essential.
- Attorneys know how much your claim is worth, and will negotiate with insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement. Insurers may try to settle a claim for far less than it’s worth. A lawyer will make sure that your family receives compensation not only for your economic losses but also intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
- An attorney will represent your best interests throughout the process. The facility and their insurer, though they may seem sympathetic, may still try to avoid liability or settle your claim for less than you deserve. A lawyer will work as an effective liaison and navigate the legal process so your family can focus on healing.
Examples of Nursing Home Abuse
Several types of nursing home abuse exist. All types are serious and can cause catastrophic levels of harm to a senior citizen. Learning about the different types of abuse can help prepare your family to look for the warning signs. Financial compensation is available for victims of all types of nursing home abuse. The following may serve as legal grounds for a personal injury claim:
- Neglect. Failing to properly care for a resident through inattention rises to the level of physical abuse when it causes harm. A nursing home has a responsibility to care for a resident’s basic needs. Failing to do so is neglect. Common examples include malnutrition and bedsores.
- Physical abuse. Physical nursing home abuse can take the form of a staff member punching, hitting, slapping, kicking, pinching, burning, biting or otherwise physically injuring a victim with intent to harm.
- Emotional or mental abuse. A resident may experience emotional or mental abuse through threats, intimidation, or a phenomenon called “false imprisonment,” in which an employee restricts a resident’s mobility by preventing access to a walker or wheelchair.
- Financial abuse. Fraudulent or financially abusive activity occurs when a staff member coerces a resident to amend wills or deeds, or simply steals financial resources from them.
- Sexual abuse. Sexually abusing a nursing home resident can refer to any type of unwanted sexual touching, groping or fondling by a staff member against a victim. It can also refer to sex crimes such as rape and assault.
Noticing the signs of elder neglect or abuse and taking early action can protect against long-term harm. Without proper medical attention and safety intervention, nursing home abuse can reach a level that causes irreversible damage to a victim, both physically and emotionally. If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a negligent or abusive nursing home staff member, you may have grounds to bring a lawsuit in Albuquerque.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Since nursing home abuse is widely underreported by victims, it is often up to friends and family members to notice signs of abuse and speak up. Knowing what to look for could save an older adult’s life. Neglect, abuse or mistreatment at a nursing home can affect an elderly resident in many different ways. When a resident does not feel safe or cared for in the place where he or she lives, it can impact virtually every aspect of the resident’s life.
A victim of elder abuse may show signs such as:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Frequent trips to the emergency room
- Broken bones or dislocations
- Burn marks
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Infections or bedsores
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Pelvic injuries or bloody undergarments
- Depression or anxiety
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as nightmares or flashbacks
- Changes in mood, personality or behavior
- Unexplained decline in mental health
- Unusual financial losses
Pay attention to any complaints about the conditions at a nursing home made by an elderly loved one. Do not dismiss or ignore them without properly following up. If you notice any potential signs of nursing home abuse or neglect in New Mexico, say something. Get your loved one to a safe place and report your suspicions to the proper authorities.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Albuquerque
If you have a reason to suspect nursing home abuse and believe it is an emergency, call 911 to report it to the police. Otherwise, you can report elder abuse to nonemergency authorities that are in charge of elder welfare in New Mexico to request intervention and assistance. Take the following steps to properly report nursing home abuse and get help for your loved one in Albuquerque:
- If the victim needs medical care, take him or her to a hospital right away.
- Tell the nursing home what happened and request an official investigation.
- Keep copies of any documents or records relating to the incident.
- Reach out to state and federal programs that are available to help.
- Contact Adult Protective Services to report the abuse at (866) 654-3219.
- Call the Albuquerque Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at (866) 842-9230 for resources and assistance.
- Report your concerns to the New Mexico Department of Health at (800) 752-8649.
Once you’ve alerted the proper authorities and ensured that your loved one is safe, discuss your legal options with an attorney in Albuquerque during a free consultation. In addition to bringing criminal charges against someone for abusing an elderly nursing home resident, your family may be entitled to financial compensation for this heinous crime. A lawyer will help you take all of the necessary steps to report abuse and seek justice.
Liability for Nursing Home Negligence in Albuquerque
The person you can hold liable, or financially and legally responsible, for nursing home negligence in Albuquerque depends on the situation. The liable party in a personal injury claim is typically the one that is most at fault for causing a victim’s injuries. If a nursing home staff member abused or neglected a resident, the nursing home can be held vicariously liable as the employer. The nursing home can also be held liable for its own mistakes, such as negligent employee training or poor resident care.
Who Can I Pursue for Damages?
Nursing home abuse usually results from the conduct of one or more employees. Though the employees are the ones committing the abuse, the facility itself is usually responsible. A nursing home facility may be liable for damages under these principles:
- Negligent supervision and care of a resident.
- Negligent hiring of an employee – for example, failure to conduct background checks or recognize misconduct of a worker.
- Negligent maintenance of a nursing home facility, when an injury occurs from a dangerous or defective condition on the premises.
- Negligent maintenance of equipment, such as beds or wheelchairs.
The nursing home facility will likely be responsible if the owner breached a duty of care it owed to a resident, and that breach led to injuries. A successful claim against a nursing home in Albuquerque can pay a victim for various losses associated with the tort or wrongdoing committed. The damages available may include:
- Past and future medical costs
- Therapies and medications
- Relocation costs
- Legal fees and court costs
- The victim’s physical pain and discomfort
- Emotional anguish and mental distress
- Reduced enjoyment or quality of life
If a victim dies because of nursing home abuse or neglect, wrongful death damages for funeral and burial costs may also be available to surviving family members. Finally, some nursing home abuse cases result in punitive damages awarded to punish the defendant for committing especially wrongful or egregious acts.
Proving a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Obtaining financial compensation for a case of nursing home abuse requires the injured party, or plaintiff, to meet the burden of proof. In a personal injury case, the burden of proof is a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means enough clear and convincing evidence to show that the defendant is more likely than not guilty of the tort or wrongful act that allegedly injured the plaintiff.
Hiring an attorney makes it easier to prove a case involving nursing home abuse. An attorney can help preserve and gather compelling evidence to prove the defendant is at fault, such as incident reports, previous complaints filed against the nursing home, nursing home staff member records, eyewitness statements, photographs of the victim’s injuries, surveillance footage of abuse or neglect, the victim’s medical records, and testimony from an expert.
Compensation Available to Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
At the Fine Law Firm, we understand that no amount of financial compensation is enough to make up for nursing home abuse or to reverse the harm that a victim suffered. However, we hope that a financial recovery can make it easier to move forward with greater peace of mind. A successful claim or lawsuit can help give a victim more hope for the future and provide justice by holding an abuser accountable.
Every case is unique, with no average settlement amount that applies to every case. The value of your nursing home abuse lawsuit will depend on the extent of the damage suffered by the victim, the severity of the victim’s injuries, the cost of medical bills and other factors. The types of compensation available, however, generally remain the same. A victim can seek both economic and noneconomic damages for the harm done by nursing home abuse.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
New Mexico has a law known as the statute of limitations for all personal injury lawsuits filed in the state, including nursing home abuse and neglect claims. A statute of limitations is a legal time limit that must be met for a plaintiff to have a valid claim to damages. These time limits change from state to state. It is important to know your statute of limitations so that you don’t miss your deadline and lose the right to seek compensation for nursing home abuse.
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations is three years. The clock typically starts ticking on the date that the cause of action accrues, such as the date that nursing home abuse is discovered. However, some exceptions exist for special circumstances. Do not assume that you’ve lost the right to recover damages if more than three years have passed from the incident. Speak to an attorney about a possible exception to the rule based on your situation.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
Filing a lawsuit for a nursing home neglect or abuse can give a victim justice, closure and financial compensation. The legal process can be easier and more effective with help from an attorney at the Fine Law Firm. Our lawyers understand these cases and know how to navigate New Mexico’s related laws. We will fill out confusing claims paperwork and file it before the deadline on your behalf.
Our lawyers can also help you build your case against a nursing home or another defendant. Our law firm can conduct a thorough investigation and preserve key evidence to support your claim, such as photographs and video footage from the facility. Another benefit is our connections to experts who can testify on your behalf, such as medical experts to help explain the victim’s injuries and the connection to nursing home neglect or abuse to a jury. We can help you with each stage of the legal process.
Contact Us Today
If your loved one suffered harm due to negligence or nursing home abuse, contact the Albuquerque nursing home abuse and New Mexico medical malpractice lawyers at Fine Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation today. We hold facilities accountable for the actions of their employees.