Legal Representation For Nursing Home Abuse Victims in Albuquerque
Nursing home residents are sometimes the victims of financial abuse at the hands of their caretakers. The Albuquerque nursing home abuse lawyers at Parnall Law Firm, LLC represent victims of nursing home mistreatment and abuse. Our lawyers have helped nursing home residents and their families pursue claims against nursing home facilities since 1997. With our compassionate client service and aggressive representation, we can help you or a loved one stand up to financial abuse at a nursing home. Please contact us today to see how we can help.
Financial Abuse At Nursing Homes
New Mexico’s Adult Protective Services Division (APS) investigated more than 6,000 suspected cases of adult exploitation, abuse, or neglect in fiscal year 2013. At least 64 percent of these victims were over age 60, and 26 percent were over age 80. APS also reported a 22 percent increase in financial exploitation cases between 2008 and 2012.
Nursing home residents are particularly susceptible to financial abuse by caretakers at nursing home facilities. The residents depend on the nursing home staff for their day-to-day care. This dependency on the staff often makes residents a target for physical abuse and financial exploitation. A nursing home resident may take a resident’s belongings or cultivate a relationship with the resident over time in an effort to gain control of the resident’s finances.
New Mexico Resident Abuse and Neglect Act
New Mexico has taken measures to deter nursing home staff members from abusive behavior. The Resident Abuse and Neglect Act gives nursing home residents the right to be free from abuse and neglect, which includes financial exploitation. Financial exploitation is defined as the intentional, knowing, or reckless use of a nursing home resident’s property for another’s profit or gain without legal entitlement. Some examples of financial abuse include:
- Forging a signature on a contract
- Endorsing a resident’s social security or other checks
- Stealing a resident’s personal property
- Taking control of the resident’s finances
Financial exploitation is a criminal offense in New Mexico. If you suspect that your relative is a victim of financial abuse, you must report it to APS. You can also take civil action against the nursing home and its staff.
Financial Abuse Liability and Damages
Nursing homes and their staff are liable for financial abuse committed against a resident in their care. While financial abuse is a criminal offense, the victim may be able to initiate a tort claim in New Mexico to hold a nursing home or staff member civilly liable for the abuse.
A victim can hold a staff member legally responsible in civil court if he or she can prove the commission of an intentional tort. An intentional tort requires that a plaintiff prove that the defendant knew his or her actions would cause harm. Financial abuse is deliberate in many cases. If a plaintiff can prove the elements of an intentional tort, such as fraud, the defendant can be held liable for damages.
A victim can also hold the nursing home liable in a claim based on negligence. The plaintiff must establish that the nursing home:
Owed a duty of care to the plaintiff; Breached the duty of care; Caused injuries because of the breach; and Actual damages.
Nursing homes and their staff members owe a higher duty to residents because they commit to providing them with care and other services. A nursing home may breach this duty of care if it was negligent in supervising or hiring the employee. For example, an employer is negligent in its hiring if it knew, or should have known, through the exercise of reasonable care, that the employee was not fit for employment under the circumstances. A plaintiff must be able to show a nexus between the nursing home’s breach of the duty of care and causation of the injury to recover damages.
Compensatory damages in nursing home abuse cases can include compensation for a victim’s pain and suffering, restitution, and punitive damages in egregious cases of financial abuse.
Fighting Elder Financial Abuse
The nursing home abuse lawyers at Parnall Law Firm, LLC in Albuquerque can help you fight against financial abuse at a nursing home. Our caring attorneys can review your case and discuss what remedies you may have under the law. If you or a loved one is a victim of financial abuse, we can provide the vigorous advocacy you need to pursue your claim against a nursing home. Please call us at 505-268-6500 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.