Las Cruces Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Many families take a lot of time to weigh their options before choosing a nursing home for their loved one. Unfortunately, no matter how safe a facility may seem, your loved one could still be mistreated.
If your loved one was abused or neglected while in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Our Las Cruces nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are prepared to help.
For decades, the attorneys at PKSD have worked with victims of negligence, including victims of nursing home abuse, to pursue the compensation they need for physical pain and emotional suffering, among many other damages.
Our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience and we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients. Partner Jeff Pitman has been certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and is a member of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association.
The initial consultation is free and confidential. We also do not charge you anything upfront if we take on your case.
No upfront costs. No risks. Call 505-677-7777 today.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
There are several factors to consider before determining the validity of a nursing home abuse or neglect case.
First, a duty of care from one party to the abused or neglected individual must exist. For a resident in a nursing home, it is reasonable to expect a certain level of care. In fact, New Mexico has a Bill of Rights for residents in long-term care facilities. Among the listed protections are living free from abuse and discriminatory treatment. Nursing home staff are expected to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm to residents of the facility. If the duty of care is breached, and a resident is injured or dies, you may have a valid case for compensation.
It is important to note that you must be able to prove the breach of duty directly resulted in your loved one’s injuries, including any emotional damage suffered.
When you speak to one of our attorneys during a free consultation, you may be asked some of the following questions about your claim:
- What care facility was your loved one in?
- What type of injuries or other damages did he or she suffer?
- What made you suspect abuse or neglect?
Depending on the facts of your claim, our attorneys may ask some additional questions to assess what legal options may be available to you.
Why Should I Work With a Lawyer?
When most people think about seeking legal advice, they question how much it will cost and whether they will need to go to court. This makes many people hesitate to work with an attorney, even if they have a valid claim.
At PKSD, our attorneys work on contingency. This means we do not charge you anything up front or while we work on your case. You only pay us when we successfully recover compensation for you, so you do not pay anything out-of-pocket.
Whether you need to go to court largely depends on the facts of your case. Our attorneys negotiate with insurance companies and other entities representing nursing homes to try and achieve a favorable settlement for our clients. However, when a fair settlement is not offered, our attorneys are also prepared to file a lawsuit to recover full compensation. We will work with you throughout the entire legal process, so each decision is made with your understanding of the situation.
Working with an attorney also ensures you have someone on your side who understands what your loved one’s rights are and what legal options may be available if those rights are violated.
Thanks to attorney-client privilege, you can discuss your claim honestly and openly with your attorney to see what your best course of action may be if your relative is abused or neglected while in a nursing home.
What Compensation May Be Available?
Compensation can be divided into two categories:
Anything that has monetary value, including medical bills like:
- Ambulatory services
- Hospital stays
- Prescription drugs
- Physical therapy
- Doctor’s visits
The cost of repairing or replacing your loved one’s stolen or damaged property may also be included.
These damages do not have a monetary value attached to them. For example, physical pain and emotional suffering the person may experience while in the nursing home.
In some instances of egregious negligence, a nursing home facility may be forced to pay punitive damages. These are meant to punish the party for their actions and to deter others from acting in the same manner.
New Mexico does not have a cap on compensatory or punitive damages except in medical malpractice cases.
Who May Be Liable for Damages?
Nursing homes are legally required to provide elderly residents a safe environment with the level of care they need. If these facilities fail in their duty, the owner of said facility could be liable for damages.
Federal law states that nursing homes must have adequate nursing and other medical staff who can help residents with medication and other services. New Mexico law expands on federal law and mandates that nursing homes must provide residents with periodic care from a licensed physician. State law also requires nursing staff to have some additional qualifications to work in a nursing home in New Mexico.
Even if it is a nurse or some other nursing home staff member whose negligence resulted in the victim’s damages, the owner of the facility is likely still the liable party. This is because the party that runs the facility oversees hiring staff and ensuring they follow state and federal guidelines. This includes running background checks and confirming certifications to make sure staff members do not have a criminal record and have all the proper qualifications to care for the residents in the nursing home.
What Are the Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), neglect is the failure to meet an older adult’s needs. Some of the most common types of neglect in a nursing home facility include:
- Medical neglect – when staff fails to meet a resident’s medical needs
- Social and emotional neglect – when a nursing home fails to provide its residents with an opportunity to interact with others, including family members
- Neglecting basic living needs – when staff fails to keep a clean and safe facility with everyday necessities for residents, including food and water
- Neglect of personal hygiene – when residents are not regularly bathed or changed
A report from the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) states that roughly five million people are affected by elder abuse every year. The NVCV report breaks down the types of abuse in nursing homes as follows:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Gross neglect
- Financial exploitation
According to a 2020 study, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that 64 percent of nursing home staff admitted to some form of abuse or neglect. However, other residents are just as capable of abuse. Nursing homes that fail to report any instances of resident-on-resident abuse, or fail to take additional precautions to prevent it, may still be liable for damages.
How Can I Spot Abuse or Neglect of a Loved One in a Nursing Home?
There are different ways to spot abuse, as the types of abuse vary.
The easiest to spot can be physical abuse. Your loved one will likely have marks on his or her body, including:
Neglect from nursing staff may also leave physical evidence on your loved one, including:
Emotional abuse is more difficult to detect, as there is likely no physical evidence. However, your loved one’s comportment may change. Look out for the following behavior:
- Fear of caregivers
- Appearing withdrawn or depressed
- Overt shyness
- Lack of eye contact
- Rocking back and forth
- Low self-esteem
- Fear of being left alone/behind
One way to detect neglect or abuse of your loved one is by visiting him or her regularly. By doing so, you may be able to spot these signs of abuse and get the proper care your loved one needs more quickly.
What Should I Do if I Suspect Elder Abuse or Neglect?
The moment you suspect abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home, you should take steps to correct the situation.
If you think your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, your first step should be to report your suspicions to facility management. Most facilities have an official process for grievance reporting, so it is documented in your loved one’s file. However, you may also make a verbal complaint.
You may also file a report with a New Mexico state agency. You can do so by calling Adult Protective Services at 1-505-476-4912 for complaints about abuse perpetrated by those under the supervision of the facility, or 1-866-654-3219 for complaints of abuse perpetrated by someone not employed or under the supervision of the facility. You can visit the New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department website for additional information.
What Type of Evidence May Help Prove Abuse or Neglect?
The type of evidence needed in a nursing home abuse or neglect case depends on the type of abuse or neglect. For example, if your loved one suffered physical abuse, you may use photographs of bruises or other marks on his or her body. If your loved one is emotionally abused, you may need to take him or her to a licensed mental health specialist for an official diagnosis.
If your loved one is being exploited financially, there is most likely a paper trail of bank records and other financial documents to help prove it.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Lawsuit?
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after suffering a personal injury, including in the case of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home, is three years from the date of the injuries suffered. If those injuries result in the death of a loved one, the time limit is three years from the date of death.
Investigating a claim and compiling evidence to build a strong case takes time, though, so it is important to get into contact with an attorney as soon as possible. Remember that the clock starts ticking from the date the injuries are discovered. If you wait too long to act you could be legally barred from recovering any compensation for the harm suffered by your loved one.
Call a Licensed Las Cruces Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
The attorneys at PKSD have over 150 years of experience fighting on behalf of injured victims, and our attorneys have successfully recovered millions on nursing home neglect victims.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim. During this confidential call we can discuss the legal options that may be available to you. If we validate your claim and you choose to work with us, there are no upfront costs for our services.
Because we work on a contingency basis, there are no risks in speaking to one of our knowledgeable attorneys.
Call 505-677-7777 to get started today.