When your loved one lives in a nursing home, you may worry they’re not getting the care they deserve since they’re not under your watchful eye all the time. Staff members who fail to provide proper health care or protect resident safety could put your loved one at risk of injury or illness.
The time that passes before you learn that your loved one has not been getting the care they deserve can adversely affect their health and potentially cost them their life.
If your relative has suffered an injury or experienced a health decline during their residence at an assisted living facility, then you may be wondering if you have grounds for a legal claim. An Albuquerque nursing home abuse lawyer can help you decide if you have a valid claim.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If you research nursing home abuse, it will seem like a fairly uncommon phenomenon. It’s not, though. Analysts argue that this abuse happens a lot, yet it goes underreported. This lack of reporting can make it challenging to know which indicators of abuse or neglect to look for.
Abuse can take on many different forms and leave varying residual effects on victims. The National Institute on Aging lists the following as signs of abuse:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Violent or agitated behavior
- Depressed mood
- Development of bedsores
- Dirty or soiled clothes or bedsheets
While an occasional bump or bruise may happen incidentally, if your loved one seems to consistently have serious injuries like serious lacerations or contusions, then physical abuse may be occurring. Injuries like these may happen because staff members push, hit, shove, or grab residents too roughly.
Changes in behavior and mood can also indicate that your relative has suffered physical and emotional abuse. A staff that uses harsh tones, insults, or purposefully ignores your relative may adversely affect their self-esteem, making them feel isolated and withdrawn.
If you notice bed sores or dirty clothes, it may be evidence of neglect.
Why Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Occurs
Our clients often inquire why abuse and neglect occur in nursing homes. Our experience is that nursing home residents don’t get the care they need or are neglected because the assisted living facility doesn’t have adequate staffing or properly trained employees to meet your loved one’s requirements.
Our experience is that nursing homes often try to save money by having fewer staff members, which can result in employees being overworked. This puts additional stress on the staff and their priorities may be centered around getting through their shift instead of providing quality care to nursing home patients.
Residents who are bedridden need to be rotated or moved to prevent bedsores from developing and personal hygiene needs to be addressed every couple of hours. They also need to have their clothes changed daily. It’s not good enough for staff to say that they weren’t able to tend to your loved one that day.
What To Know About Elopement in Senior Communities
Assisted living facilities housing individuals requiring specialized care, like dementia or other types of memory loss, owe residents an even higher level of oversight.
Dangers Associated With Wandering
Memory disorders like these often leave individuals confused. This may lead senior residents to wander and attempt to leave the facility where they live. A senior who leaves may become lost and not know how to get back.
Fall Risks Individuals With Memory Disorders Face
Falling accidents can happen as well, which can be deadly. The staff may not be aware of a resident’s absence for hours. The fall could have broken bones or a senior could be in danger of hypothermia, dehydration, and other life-threatening conditions.
Assessing Nursing Homes When Your Relative Has a Memory Disorder
When you’re evaluating a prospective Albuquerque nursing home facility or visiting your loved one’s actual one, you should ask the staff about their safety protocols to keep residents safe and prevent wandering. If they don’t have precautions, it can be a sign they’re not the safest home for your loved one. Let’s look into other signs of nursing home quality.
How Can You Assess the Quality of a Nursing Home?
You can find out a lot about the quality of care offered by a nursing home by staying attentive and asking questions. On the first visit, take notice of the cleanliness of the residents and the environment. Also, check to see if the meals are nutritious. The nursing home should also have activities planned for residents, so they maintain healthy social lives.
If you’re able to, consider asking other visiting families questions. Ask about their satisfaction with their loved one’s care, if their loved one enjoys living there, and if they feel there’s something the nursing home could do better. It’s a red flag if the staff will not allow you to visit with your loved one alone. When speaking to staff, it’s also a problem if they seem to have vague answers or don’t want to talk at all.
What Should You Do if You Suspect Abuse or Neglect?
If something doesn’t seem right at your relative’s nursing home, then you’ve probably spent considerable time trying to figure out what to do about it.
Deciding to pursue legal action can put a lot of stress on residents and their family members to the point where they may not think it’s worth it to pursue their personal injury claim. However, the staff member who put your loved one in danger needs to be held accountable for their actions.
Also, the costs associated with treating physical illnesses and injuries stemming from nursing home residents’ ill-treatment can be extensive. Family members of abused and neglected residents can use recovered compensation to cover medical bills associated with treatment.
When Is It Time to File a Negligence Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home?
When a family member reaches out to our office to schedule a free consultation to discuss their loved one’s suspected nursing home abuse, they often feel like they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They feel as if the ramifications of the physical harm, sexual assault, mental abuse, medication errors, or financial exploitation could have been prevented had they provided closer oversight.
You shouldn’t blame yourself for what happened due to inadequate training and negligent care doled out by nursing homes. Nursing home neglect and abuse are largely to blame on these New Mexico facilities not having properly trained or adequate staffing.
An overworked or poorly trained nursing home staff member will often subject residents to physical or chemical restraints, leaving residents vulnerable to physical violence resulting in broken bones, the onset of potential illnesses, sexual abuse, psychological trauma, and financial exploitation if circumstances are left unchanged.
While you might expect better treatment out of a Medicaid services nursing facility here in NE Albuquerque or Santa Fe, the risks residents face at those government-subsidized facilities aren’t much better than private ones. Just as many Medicaid nursing homes in New Mexico receive family member reports of elder abuse that go left unchanged as private facilities do.
Your persistence in following up on the nursing home abuse your loved one has endured in New Mexico helps protect others from potentially being subjected to elder abuse at similar perpetrators’ hands.
What Can You Expect When Meeting With a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
The goal of the free initial consultation is for a nursing home neglect and abuse attorney to learn more about what happened to your loved one. You can expect the lawyer you meet with to inquire about:
- When your relative first started living in the New Mexico nursing home.
- Why you suspect your loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse.
- Whether you’ve noticed any signs that your relative has endured nursing home neglect.
- If any of the nursing home abuse or neglect was ever reported and, if so, to whom (and what issues were left unchanged after you did so).
- Any medical care the nursing home resident has received.
- Whether you’ve noticed any potential instances of financial abuse.
- Actual harm the New Mexico nursing home abuse or neglect has caused.
The lawyers at our law firm have one primary goal when meeting with clients for free consultations. We want to see if our prospective clients have a valid negligence claim before establishing an attorney client relationship, which is the first step in the legal representation process.
Advantages of Hiring an Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Provided you have a valid claim, we’ll move forward in investigating your case so we can adequately determine how much compensation is warranted.
If your loved one has been abused, then it’s quite possible that other residents are also being poorly treated too. It’s important to step up and put a stop to what is happening.
When you’re planning to take legal action, it’s important to have an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer at your side. Our lawyers have an extensive track record of advocating for residents who’ve been abused at nursing facilities like rehabilitation and long-term care ones here in New Mexico.
We understand how devastating it can be to learn that your loved one was treated poorly, and their health suffered because of it. As we investigate nursing home abuse cases, we assess the full damage the elder abuse caused. This analysis often results in a nursing home abuse lawyer demanding damages.
Damages Available in an Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Case
Injured people often suffer losses, also referred to as damages. There are two primary categories into which these damages fall: economic and noneconomic.
Understanding What Economic Damages Are
Economic damages are readily quantifiable ones or ones of a defined monetary amount. Some examples of economic losses are medical bills associated with your loved one’s hospitalization, physical therapy for improving mobility after broken bones, or mental health counseling to treat residual symptoms of emotional abuse.
How Noneconomic Losses Compare to Economic Damages
Noneconomic damages cover the hidden costs of the nursing home negligence or abuse. Your loved one may have experienced pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other repercussions that don’t readily have a quantifiable monetary value. Your attorney will review the totality of the circumstances surrounding how your loved one’s preventable injury or illness has adversely impacted them when assigning a value to their noneconomic losses.
Choosing Between Attorneys To Take On Rogue Nursing Homes
There are many details to weigh when selecting between attorneys. Some factors you should consider include:
Be Wary of Compensation Promises
As your loved one’s case has been weighing on your mind, you’ve likely considered attorney advertising. You’ve probably heard lawyers say they’ll secure you max compensation. Proving elder abuse allegations against New Mexico nursing homes isn’t easy, though.
Making promises to be able to secure a certain amount of compensation for clients isn’t allowed under New Mexico bar rules. However, we can guarantee that our lawyers will take time in reviewing your relative’s elder abuse case when determining what their compensation should be.
We won’t stop fighting until we secure what they deserve and need.
Know if Your Attorney Is Open To Going to Trial
Another detail to keep in mind when comparing attorneys is that not all of them are open to taking cases to trial. That’s not the case with our lawyers, though. Once we commit to you, we’re here for the long haul.
There’s a strong likelihood that your case may be settled outside of court. However, we’re completely committed to pursuing a trial if the other party isn’t offering a fair settlement amount.
While this litigation option can seem intimidating, an experienced attorney in Albuquerque, NM will know how to present a case to the jury. Plus, they can help prepare you so you feel confident and ready.
Knowledge of Statutes of Limitations
Timing is crucial in personal injury claims. Our lawyers will know which laws apply to your case and will act accordingly so you make all the important deadlines.
Why Choose Our Lawyers in Albuquerque for a Free Consultation
Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm is here for those who have been abused or neglected in New Mexico. Families deserve to get justice for their loved ones.
Our attorneys will diligently look into the case and put together the evidence of how your loved one was hurt, what happened, who caused it, and how it affected them.
Beginning your legal journey can start with a simple phone call. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation. This is the first step to helping your loved one recover from the psychological, physical, or sexual abuse they faced so that they can move forward.