Older woman's hand being held

New Mexico Nursing Home Abuse

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Q: What is elder abuse?

When people picture their golden years, it’s safe to say that few envision living in a nursing home. While most facilities are staffed with trained and caring professionals that provide the proper standard of care to their residents, some seniors are not so lucky. What goes on behind those closed doors is, too often, the subject of shocking newspaper headlines. Santa Fe nursing home neglect attorneys help elder abuse victims and their families stop the abuse and obtain compensation for the physical and/or emotional damage inflicted. 

State laws differ, but if the victim dies as a result of the abuse, and would have been entitled to damages if they had survived, their estate or closest surviving family members may be entitled to damages in a wrongful death action. 

Nursing home neglect and abuse cases fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. Grounds for a lawsuit arise when a victim is harmed by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions of a person or entity. The victim must establish that the defendant’s actions caused their harm. 

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

There are several different forms of elder abuse that senior citizens may face at the hands of strangers, caretakers, fiduciaries, and even friends and family, including:

  • Physical abuse – Often leaving marks or bruises, this may include intentional use of physical force, improper use of drugs, or unnecessary use of physical restraints against the senior. 
  • Emotional abuse – Often a bigger problem in nursing home settings than physical abuse (and much easier to hide), emotional abuse can be verbal abuse, taunting, ignoring, or isolating the elder. Responses include behavioral changes in the senior like anxiety, depression, and fear, and can manifest as actual physical symptoms and illnesses. 
  • Financial abuse – A widespread problem, financial abuse can come at the hands of strangers and con artists, caregivers, trusted fiduciaries, and family who exploit the senior’s trust or diminished mental capacity and deplete their bank accounts or steal their property and valuables.

Sadly, it has become increasingly common for nursing home staff to physically or emotionally abuse vulnerable residents and to share video footage of the incident on popular social media platforms as further humiliation of the victim. Residents with dementia or those with few to no visitors are particularly vulnerable to elder abuse. 

Recently, two certified nursing assistants in a nursing home were criminally charged and fired after allegedly “bullying and taunting” a 91-year old resident with dementia and posting the incident on Snapchat. The resident’s family is reportedly suing the staffers and the home for elder abuse.

Contact Our Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, or any other form of elder abuse, the Hunt Law Firm can help you maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today for a consultation. 

From our office in Santa Fe, we represent injured victims and their families in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Raton, Roswell, Los Alamos, Las Vegas, and throughout the state of New Mexico in all aspects of personal injury law.