Lawyers Advocating For Victims Of Nursing Home Physical Abuse In Albuquerque
Placing a relative in the care of a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions one can make. Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not provide our loved ones with the safe, nurturing environment we expect. The Albuquerque nursing home negligence attorneys at Parnall Law Firm, LLC represent victims of nursing home physical abuse. Since 1997, we have fought for the rights of nursing home abuse victims and other injured parties. We are committed to providing the legal advocacy you need to hold nursing homes accountable for their negligence and abusive acts. Please contact us if you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse.
Physical Abuse and The Law
Elder abuse and neglect, particularly in nursing homes, are serious problems that can go unreported in our state. New Mexico Adult Protective Services received over 11,000 reports of suspected adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation in 2013. Only six percent of abuse cases were reported by the actual victim. In many cases, a victim fears retaliation and will not report physical abuse.
Both state and federal laws protect nursing home residents from abuse. The New Mexico Resident Abuse and Neglect Act (the Act) prohibits the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of nursing home residents. Abuse is defined as an intentional, knowing, or reckless action (or failure to act) that causes or is likely to cause harm. Physical abuse can include harmful physical contact, broken bones from falls, sexual abuse, medically inappropriate conduct, incorrect medication, unnecessary restraints, or other bodily harm. Federal regulations also require nursing homes to develop and implement procedures that prohibit abuse by the staff. They also bar nursing homes from hiring individuals who were found guilty of abusing residents in the past.
Liability For Nursing Home Physical Abuse
A victim of nursing home negligence and abuse may have a claim against several parties for their injuries. A personal injury claim can be based on various theories of liability, depending on the defendant.
Several laws apply to nursing homes and their staff members. The violation of a statute (such as the Act) can be used to establish a standard of care, or even liability. To hold a nursing home or staff member accountable under a theory of negligence per se, for example, the plaintiff would have to show:
- A statute that implicitly or explicitly defines a standard of conduct;
- Defendant violated the statute;
- That the victim is in the class of persons the statute is meant to protect; and
- That the victim’s injury is the type of injury that the statute was intended to prevent.
A plaintiff can also base his or her claim on ordinary negligence. A staff member, for example, can be held liable if the plaintiff demonstrates that the staff member breached his or her duty of reasonable care, and that the breach caused the victim’s injuries. If the staff member is a medical provider, such as a doctor, the claim could be for professional negligence or medical malpractice. The plaintiff would have to show that the provider failed to exercise the degree of care and skill ordinarily used by other providers in a similar place and under similar circumstances.
A nursing home can also be held liable under a negligence claim. It can be held directly liable for negligent hiring practices if it retained staff members with a history of abuse. It can also be vicariously liable for an employee’s negligent acts if the acts were committed in the course and within the scope of employment.
Your Rights to Recover Damages
Once liability is established, victims of nursing home abuse can recover damages from those that caused their injuries. Recoverable damages can include medical expenses, rehabilitative care, and pain and suffering. If the victim died as a result of the abuse, certain family members can also recover for loss of consortium and funeral bills through a wrongful death claim. In serious cases of physical abuse, a victim or their family members may be awarded punitive damages.
Fight Against Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
If you or a family member is a victim of nursing home physical abuse, the nursing home physical abuse lawyers at Parnall Law Firm, LLC in Albuquerque can help you. Our attorneys are experienced litigators who can help you fight against nursing home abuse. We offer our clients compassionate service, while aggressively pursuing their claims against negligent and abusive nursing homes. Please call us at 505-268-6500, or complete our online form, to arrange an initial, no-cost consultation.