Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
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Speak With A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Albuquerque Has Trusted For Over 35 Years
According to the National Council on Aging, up to five million older Americans are abused every year, and the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion. You don’t have to be one of them.
If you believe your family member is or has been a victim of elder abuse or neglect, one of the New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers at Ron Bell Injury Lawyers in Albuquerque can evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options. We may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation on your loved one’s behalf to pay for their medical care and other losses.
Our legal team fights to protect elders from ailments like bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, infections, and falls. Each elder abuse and neglect case is pursued with zeal and a strong sense of personal connection by our team of aggressive nursing home litigators and trial lawyers. We’ll even come to your house, the facility, or the hospital if necessary. We take pride in constantly battling to bring all perpetrators of elder abuse and neglect to justice.
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You Don’t Pay Unless We Recover on Your Behalf
Our law firm handles all types of personal injury cases, including nursing home abuse cases, on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no attorney fees until we get your loved one the payout they deserve.
Call us today at 505-898-2355 to get started with a FREE case review.
New Mexico’s Nursing Homes Do Not Have a Good Reputation
While there are a few truly excellent long-term care facilities in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico’s nursing homes overall do not fare well under scrutiny. In fact, a 2018 ProPublica analysis ranks New Mexico’s nursing homes as the worst in the nation.
According to the analysis, inspectors found “serious deficiencies” in 36 of the 74 Medicare and Medicaid facilities they inspected between January 2015 and April 2018. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also reported more than 2,200 infractions in these healthcare facilities. A violation can range from a relatively minor incident to a confirmed case of physical abuse at the hands of staff members or other residents.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in New Mexico
It pays to keep on guard and watch for signs of abuse, both with your loved one and with other residents. If you believe abuse is occurring and you have not already filed a complaint, you can:
- Report the Abuse to the Department of Health: You can report potential nursing home abuse by calling the New Mexico Health Facility Complaints Hotline at 1-800-752-8649. Alternatively, you can fill out and download this complaint form and email or mail it. The email address is [email protected]. The physical address is Harold Runnels Building, 1190 S. St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505
- Report the Abuse to the Aging and Long-Term Services Department: If you suspect a resident is being abused, neglected, or exploited, call Adult Protective Services Statewide Intake, toll-free at 1-866-654-3219.
- Address Immediate Concerns with Police: If you believe a long-term care facility resident is in immediate danger and the nursing home administration fails to act, do not hesitate to call Albuquerque police at 505-242-COPS (or 911 in an emergency). The police can ensure the resident gets prompt medical care, as well as file a complaint and possibly arrest the abuser.
- Contact Us to Learn More About Your Next Steps: If the abuse victim is your family member or loved one, call as soon as possible at 505-898-BELL. We may be able to help you collect evidence to prove the abuse occurred and to hold the nursing home liable for your loved one’s damages.
How Can an Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help You?
We cannot tell you how much your family member’s nursing home abuse case might be worth until we conduct a full investigation. However, the maximum compensation value of the case and any subsequent punitive damages awarded will depend on:
- The type of abuse he or she suffered
- The treatment he or she required
- The evidence we have against the liable parties
- The severity of his or her pain and suffering damages
We can, however, help you understand the types of damages we may be able to recover if we can negotiate a settlement or win an award for your family member in court.
Common damages our clients collect in Albuquerque nursing home abuse cases include:
- Medical care and related expenses when physical injuries occur
- The cost of therapy and counseling
- Repayment of any stolen money or other assets
- Damages for physical pain and emotional suffering
- Mental anguish
- Other emotional losses
Recognizing the Five Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Elder abuse is not always as apparent as you might expect. Physical violence, such as hitting and pushing, may leave bruises and cuts, but other types of abuse are often much more subtle. Unfortunately, though, all can cause lasting emotional scars.
Signs of physical abuse in a nursing home can vary in severity and may manifest differently in each case. It’s essential to be vigilant and watch for the following signs:
- Frequent unexplained injuries, such as bruises, cuts, burns, or fractures, can be a red flag. These injuries may have inconsistent or vague explanations.
- Fractures or broken bones, especially if they occur repeatedly.
- Look for signs of excessive restraint use, such as marks on the wrists or ankles. Physical restraints should only be used when medically necessary and with proper documentation.
Neglect is not usually intentional, and many people do not recognize the signs as abuse. However, it can be the deadliest type of abuse for seniors who depend on their caregivers for help with almost everything. Neglect often leaves nursing home residents unfed, unbathed, and unmedicated. They may develop bed sores and infections or suffer other complications because of the lack of routine care for chronic medical conditions.
Neglect usually occurs when the nursing home administration fails to adequately staff the facility based on the number and needs of their residents. Neglect may occur because of:
- Budget concerns leading to untrained staff handling nursing care
- Chronic issues with staff retention
- Lack of supervision for staff
When looking for signs of abuse and neglect, many people may not consider emotional abuse since it does not cause any physical harm to the resident. However, it causes mental anguish, suffering, and emotional harm. Emotional abusers may also engage in physical, sexual, or financial abuse. Emotional abuse often includes:
- Threats and harassment
- Humiliation and embarrassment
Sexual abuse covers a vast array of actions. This may include:
- Inappropriate comments
- Unnecessary nudity
- Unwanted touching or fondling
- Unwanted sexual activity
Financial exploitation commonly includes:
- Stealing cash from the senior’s room
- Stealing valuables to pawn, sell, or keep
- Using the senior’s credit card or checks to buy things for themselves
- The nursing home or caregiver billing for services the senior does not receive
- Forcing, coercing, or tricking the senior to change his or her will
Signs of Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect
Once you help move your family member into a nursing home, keep an eye out for signs of nursing home abuse and document anything that may point to a failure of duty of care. This can play a crucial role in proving your case later.
While it is true that falls are common among nursing home residents, and many may suffer minor bumps and bruises regularly, watching for a pattern of abuse is essential to ensuring your loved one’s health and safety. This may include:
- Unexplained injuries such as bruises, cuts, and burns
- Broken bones with no known cause
- An unexplained change in alertness, usually becoming less alert
- Sudden changes in behavior, such as withdrawal, depression, anxiety, or agitation
- A sudden personality change unrelated to a medical condition
- Bruises or other signs of sexual abuse around the breasts and genitals
- Fear or reluctance to be alone with certain staff or person
- Caregiver refusal to leave during family visits
- Inconsistent explanations by staff members for injuries or changes in a resident’s condition
- Weight loss or malnutrition
- Chronic and untreated bedsores
- Soiled clothes or sheets and other hygiene issues
- Delayed medical care
- Medication errors, including skipped medication or providing too much medication
- Missing cash or valuable assets
- Unauthorized use of checks, bank cards, or credit cards
- A sudden change to a will or other estate planning document
If you notice one or more of these signs of neglect or abuse, we encourage you to document them and then bring them to the attention of the nursing home administration. If they cannot give you a satisfactory answer, call 911 to get your loved one out of immediate danger or file a complaint in a non-emergency situation.
How Elder Abuse Cases are Prosecuted in New Mexico
Elder abuse can be prosecuted in New Mexico through the criminal justice system or civil courts. The following are the distinctions between criminal and civil charges in a nursing facility abuse case.
- Depending on the victim’s age and the intensity of the abuse, elder abuse can result in a variety of penalties. Fines and imprisonment may be imposed.
- Anyone who inadvertently or intentionally causes harm or death to a dependent adult, or the elderly is subject to penalties and imprisonment.
- If you are caring for an elderly person and you choose to abuse or disregard their needs, you may be breaking federal and state laws. You may face criminal and civil penalties.
The distinction between a civil and a criminal matter is self-evident. An attorney with experience in nursing home abuse handles civil matters. Typically, the family employs an attorney and files a lawsuit against the nursing home. Abuse that is more violent is dealt with in criminal courts.
Nursing Home Abuse Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that you may have many concerns and inquiries regarding this sensitive issue. In this section, you will find general information and answers to common questions about nursing home abuse. For legal advice regarding your case, please reach out to our experienced team of lawyers for personalized assistance and guidance.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Abuse and neglect in nursing homes can occur in a variety of ways. Nursing home abuse is typically defined as physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with physical harm, pain, or mental suffering as a result. It is also defined as the deprivation of commodities or services by a care custodian in order to cause bodily injury or mental distress.
Nursing home abuse is:
- Failure to assist with personal hygiene or the provision of food, clothing, or shelter
- Failure to provide medical care for physical and/or mental health needs
- Failure to protect from health and safety hazards
- Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration
Why and how does elder abuse occur?
Most issues that nursing home patients face have one common denominator: understaffing. Nursing home staff issues are caused not only by insufficient or short staffing but also by nurses and other caregivers providing care in areas where they are not properly trained or qualified.
Decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, falls, dehydration and malnutrition, and infection transmission are all prevalent problems among the elderly. In some circumstances, nursing home mistreatment might result in amputations that could have been avoided. Due to insufficient monitoring and care, many people suffer from avoidable falls that result in bruising, broken bones, and other serious injuries. Patients and residents are frequently denied their dignity rights when they are subjected to unhygienic circumstances, for example. Unfortunately, some examples of widespread neglect and abuse result in a resident’s death, which can lead to a wrongful death [link] lawsuit.
Who is the abuse coordinator in a nursing home?
In a nursing home or long-term care facility, an abuse coordinator is typically a designated staff member responsible for handling and addressing allegations or concerns related to abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of residents.
What is the legal definition of elder abuse in New Mexico?
Nursing home abuse is illegal in the state of New Mexico, according to Title 7, Chapter 9 of the New Mexico Administrative Code. The agency responsible for this specific NMAC enforcement is the NM Department of Health. Civil and criminal laws protect those who are most vulnerable. These rules prohibit not just physical or mental abuse but also neglect or lack of care for the elderly. Abuse can be classified as psychological, physical, financial, neglect, isolation, abandonment, or sexual assault. All adults are protected by the law.
When should I file a negligence lawsuit against a nursing home?
The procedure of filing a negligence lawsuit against a nursing facility should begin as soon as feasible. If you want to pursue a nursing home negligence claim, the first step is to contact a lawyer. The lawyers at Ron Bell Injury Lawyers can assist you in filing a complaint against the institution or its employees.
This complaint is a legal document that contains a lot of information, such as:
- An explanation of the victim’s injuries
- Facts about the occurrences of neglect that are relevant
- The names of the parties involved
It also helps others avoid being neglected in the future. Nursing facilities that have been sued may alter their policies in order to improve the quality of treatment and avoid more litigation.
However, if you wait too long after the neglect occurs, you may not be able to pursue legal action. Statutes of limitations prohibit lawsuits from being launched after a specified period of time has passed. The statute of limitations on reporting elder abuse in New Mexico is three (3) years. Our personal injury attorneys can assist you in meeting these deadlines.
New Mexico Nursing Home Abuse Resources
You’re not alone. These programs and services are in place to protect you and your family from elder abuse and neglect. Click on the links to learn more.
Talk to an Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
You and your family deserve to live in a clean, safe, and nurturing environment. If a nursing home facility takes advantage of, neglects, or abuses a senior, the victim and their family may be eligible for compensation. If you believe a loved one suffered physical or emotional injuries or financial losses because of abuse or neglect in an Albuquerque nursing home, we urge you to get serious—Ron Bell Injury Lawyers serious. We offer free consultations to help you understand your options for holding the person and facility that hurt your loved one accountable for their actions.
Call us today at 505-898-2355 to discuss your family member’s situation with a member of our team.