Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Deciding to place a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult and emotional decision. Families often worry if they are doing what is best and whether their family member will be happy, safe and well-cared for in long-term care. When a loved one subsequently suffers the trauma of abuse or neglect at the hands of caregivers, it is natural for their families to feel angry and betrayed.
If you suspect your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, we are ready to help. We offer a completely FREE, no-risk case review where we will listen to your concerns, answer your questions and explain your legal options.
At PKSD, we have helped numerous families and victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and recovered millions in compensation for our clients. These proven results include a $2 million recovery for a victim injured in a case of nursing home understaffing.
Attorney Jeff Pitman is a member of the National Board of Trial Advocacy and is widely recognized by his peers as a leading nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. Our firm also has a specialized team of nursing home abuse & neglect lawyers in Albuquerque. If you choose our firm to represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay. We do not get paid for our services unless we win your case.
Is your loved one a victim? Call Ph: 505-677-7777 for a FREE case review today.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
If you suspect your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, there are several steps you can take right away. The first thing you can do is report your suspicions and concerns to the following:
- Nursing home administrator
- Director of nursing at your loved one’s facility
- Adult Protective Services – toll-free 24/7 number: 866-654-3219
- Long-term care ombudsman – a neutral public advocate for abused, neglected or exploited adults
If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, you should call 9-1-1 without delay. In that situation, it may also be a good idea to consider removing your loved one from the home until the threat can be investigated, ruled out, or eliminated.
To help get answers to your legal questions and the actions you can take, it is also a good idea to contact an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney in Albuquerque.
How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case?
Each case is unique, so it is difficult to give a “one-size-fits-all” answer. The fastest way to determine whether you may or may not have a valid case of nursing home abuse or neglect is to seek legal help as soon as possible.
Sometimes families may wonder if it is too early to contact a lawyer, especially if their suspicions have not yet been confirmed. However, consulting with a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer costs you nothing. Therefore, there is no risk or obligation to you.
Contact PKSD for legal help today. Call us today at 505-677-7777 .
How Can an Attorney Help Me if I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
An experienced Albuquerque-based nursing home abuse and neglect attorney can help you in many ways, even if you are not yet sure if you have a case, including by:
- Helping you to report your concerns and suspicions to the right people
- Fully investigating your case and helping you to gather the evidence you need
- Dealing with nursing home administrators and other third parties on your behalf
- Identifying any parties who may be liable for your loved one’s damages
- Filing the injury lawsuit on behalf of you and your injured family member
- Negotiating a settlement for maximum compensation or preparing for a trial if a settlement agreement cannot be reached
In short, your attorney should be prepared to do whatever is legally necessary to hold the at-fault parties accountable and recover the compensation for your loved one’s damages.
What Constitutes Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home?
Many people may be confused about how abuse and neglect injuries differ. However, the most important difference is negligence may not be intentional. Abuse, on the other hand, is an act of purposeful misconduct with the intent to cause harm.
What is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect happens when nurses, nurses aides and other nursing home staff fail to provide reasonable standards of care for residents. Unfortunately, residents suffer this type of harm far too often due to:
- Staff who are poorly trained, inexperienced and often not qualified to provide proper care
- Underpaid, overworked staff suffering from burnout
- Inadequate oversight or supervision of nurses and other caregivers
- Facilities where understaffing is the norm, despite federal guidelines
- Residents who are deliberately isolated from others by their nursing home caregivers
- Neglected residents who are either unable or too afraid to ask for help
There are some cases where residents may isolate themselves. However, nursing home staff are still required to care for these individuals and ensure they receive proper care.
Neglect of a resident may be physical, emotional or medical.
Physical neglect may include situations where residents do not get their daily needs met by caregivers. For instance, help with bathing, grooming or dressing. Residents may also need help cleaning their living areas or assistance in the bathroom. Residents who get injured after wandering out of the facility and off the property are also considered victims of physical neglect.
Medical neglect may often occur if a facility is understaffed. This type of neglect can be quite serious, even fatal for some residents.
Common examples of medical negligence include when nursing staff:
- Fails to administer the correct medication to a resident
- Gives a resident the wrong dose or the wrong medication
- Does not ensure a resident takes his or her medication
- Delays in providing a resident with his or her medication at the proper time
When a nursing home provides insufficient oversight of its nursing staff and other caregivers, residents may suffer from various undiagnosed medical issues.
For instance, a bedridden resident may suffer severe bedsores from not being regularly bathed or turned. Other residents may suffer urinary tract infections or other illnesses. If they fall while trying to do something on their own, like going to the toilet, they may fall and suffer severe bruising, fractures or even a head injury.
Residents may get depressed in a nursing home due to being separated from their families. However, sometimes residents may suffer side effects from certain medications they are taking that may cause them to feel depressed or anxious. Nursing home residents are like all of us. They need interaction and social time, and they need more than their basic needs to be met. Extreme cases of emotional neglect may be considered abuse if an investigation reveals that a resident was deliberately isolated and ignored by staff.
What Type of Abuse Happens in Nursing Homes?
Abuse is completely different from neglect because it is the result of deliberate misconduct. This type of harm takes many forms, as it can be sexual, physical, verbal/psychological and even financial.
Physical abuse could include any form of violence, such as a resident being punched, slapped, kicked, tripped, shoved, burned, bit or even “just” pinched. If you see frequent and unexplained bruising on your loved ones, particularly in areas that may be hidden, such as their arms, legs or buttocks, it is important to report them immediately. If these injuries were the result of an accident, they should be documented in your loved one’s medical records.
Verbal or Psychological Abuse
Nursing home staff who verbally mistreat a resident often harass them or call them names in front of other residents. They may also find ways to publicly humiliate them. This type of abuse is often used to intimidate and even control residents.
If you find your loved one more withdrawn than usual and atypically depressed, it could be a warning sign that they are suffering from some type of abuse.
Sexual abuse happens anytime a resident is forced to endure any type of unwanted sexual contact. This includes any type of sexual touching, rape, photographing a resident in a compromising position or forcing a resident to perform a sexual act. Some nursing home caregivers have even been known to photograph these incidents and publish them on social media to further humiliate a resident.
Signs your loved one may have been sexually abused may be harder to spot, especially if you do not live close enough to the facility to visit often. Common signs of sexual abuse may include:
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Bloody sheets and torn or bloody clothing
- Extreme discomfort when moving or sitting
- Genital bruising
- Blood in urine
- Sexually transmitted diseases
Although much less talked about, committing financial fraud against a nursing home resident can have significant consequences. Very often, residents live on a fixed income. They may receive some retirement benefits, along with their Social Security checks and may even have some personal savings. These funds are often all residents have to pay for their daily needs, medical care and other costs of living.
This is why it may be hard to believe that a staff member hired to care for a resident would take advantage of a resident with so little to spare. Some common forms of financial abuse include:
- Common theft of money or goods from a resident’s living area
- Intimidation of a resident to gain access to his or her bank account, credit or debit cards
- Forcing a resident to sign over his or her assets or power of attorney
- Intimidating a resident into making changes to his or her will, such as naming the caregiver as his or her beneficiary
- Identify theft
Who May Be Liable for Damages Due to Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Each case is unique, as it may have only been one staff member committing abuse. In some cases, however, there could be multiple parties who are liable for the damages, including:
- Nursing home administrators who should be providing oversight of staff and daily operations
- Staff nurses, nurses’ aides and other caregivers providing the day-to-day care of residents
- Other facility workers who are allowed on the property
- Third-party vendors, contractors and other visitors with access to the facility
- Attending physicians and other medical providers
- Other residents living at the facility
What Could My Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case Be Worth?
There are many factors that could determine what your case is worth. First and foremost, however, as the victim or family member of the victim, the burden of proving neglect or abuse is on you. That is why we strongly recommend working with an attorney who is already well-versed in the law and can advocate for your legal rights.
The types of compensation you may be eligible to receive include:
- Emergency medical transportation to another facility
- In-patient/overnight hospital stays
- Surgery that may be required to treat your loved one’s injuries
- Any prescription or over-the-counter medication
- Doctor appointments, including follow-up care
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation services
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress and anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- And more
Punitive damages may also be awarded for especially egregious cases where the defendant’s actions are considered willful, wanton, reckless or undertaken with complete disregard for the potential consequences. However, it is important to point out that these damages are not to further award the injured victim. Rather they are intended to discourage others from committing similar actions.
How Do I Prove a Case of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
These cases are so difficult to prove that we do not recommend you try to prove these cases on your own. Rather, we strongly recommend hiring an attorney to manage your case. He or she will fully investigate the situation and help you to gather the evidence you need.
Strong evidence that could strengthen your case and help your attorney prove that the nursing home failed to uphold its legal duty of care to your loved one could include the following:
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries – date them and include what staff said caused them
- Documentation showing how administrators responded (or failed to respond) when you first reported your concerns
- Evidence of the type and extent of injuries your loved one suffered
- Medical records to show whether the injuries were reported and properly treated
- Whether the nursing home has a prior history of nursing home neglect or abuse
Are There Any Filing Deadlines That Apply?
There are deadlines that apply, so it is critical that you do not delay seeking legal help. In New Mexico, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within three years of the date of the injury or death. Other deadlines may apply, but these are things you can discuss when you speak with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney in New Mexico.
Contact Our Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers Today
If your loved one suffered harm due to abuse or neglect in his or her nursing home, you may be eligible to recover significant compensation on your loved one’s behalf.
At PKSD, we have decades of experience and have recovered millions in compensation for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We take these cases very seriously and are deeply dedicated to holding these at-fault parties accountable for their actions.
Contact our trusted law firm to request your FREE case review. If you choose our firm to represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay. We only get paid for our services if we win your case.
PKSD. Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Ph: Ph: 505-677-7777