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Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Fighting for the Dignity & Care of Vulnerable Loved Ones

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is rarely easy. However, assisted living facilities are equipped to handle a range of medical conditions and monitor residents 24/7, which family members, no matter how devoted they are, may not be able to do on their own.

While many nursing homes go above and beyond when caring for residents, others fall short of expectations. In some cases, nursing home staff may take advantage of vulnerable residents by inflicting physical, sexual, or emotional abuse upon them. In addition, nursing homes may inflict neglect upon their residents by not attending to their needs, like moving them in bed to prevent bed sores, failing to change their diapers, or not providing them with regular hygiene.

If you are concerned about your elder family members, our Albuquerque nursing home abuse attorneys can help you better understand your options. Call us at (505) 806-1780 today.

Signs of Poor Nursing Home Care

Nursing home abuse can take on many forms. The signs may not always be immediately evident, especially if the staff takes steps to conceal them. However, certain signs should be cause for concern if noticed by the loved ones of residents. 

These signs include:

  • Recurring Injuries – Does your loved one consistently have unexplained bumps and bruises? Do they frequently require medical care for sprains or strains? Have they sustained a broken bone in the facility? If there answer to these questions is yes and staff is unable to provide a satisfactory reason why, poor care is likely to blame.
  • Expressions of Fear Around Staff – In addition to being skilled and capable, nursing home staff must also present a kind demeanor to those in their care. If staff are insulting, overly critical, or belittling to residents, it can have a serious impact on mental health. This may result in residents who behave timidly in front of certain staff members or who are reluctant to discuss issues with loved ones.
  • Bad Personal Hygiene – Along with keeping residents safe and seeing to their medical needs, staff must also perform personal care tasks like bathing and grooming. When these tasks are neglected, residents will have an unkempt, disheveled appearance. Along with being demoralizing, a lack of bathing or changing clothing can also lead to health issues, including frequent illnesses or the development of bed sores.

While you can’t be with your loved one 24/7, you can prevent nursing home abuse and neglect by visiting as often as possible. Should you notice the above effects or feel that your loved one is behaving differently, talk with the staff about any issues he or she may be experiencing. You can also bring your concerns up to the administrator, who should take suitable action to get to the bottom of the issue.

How Can I Prove Nursing Home Negligence?

When staff fail to provide reasonable care, residents are often harmed as a result. Depending on the person’s needs, staff may be required to help with tasks like grooming, meal preparation, medication management, and many others. Performing these tasks carelessly or failing to do them often results in serious injury, illness, or even death.

To show that nursing home negligence occurred, you must show the home breached its duty of care, which is the staff’s obligation to act reasonably and in accordance with the standards for caring for patients in a nursing home. Duty of care is based on prevailing laws and regulations as well as professional standards, but it can also be based on the terms contained within the contract between the nursing home and resident.

The resident must also present evidence of injuries that occurred because of this breach. For instance, if a person is immobile and requires help getting in and out of bed, it’s the staff’s responsibility to do so. If the resident is injured when attempting to get out of bed or develops an infection because of a bed sore, the nursing home could be held liable.

What Damages Are Available to Victims of Nursing Home Negligence?

If your family member suffered injury or harm as a result of negligence in a nursing home, they are entitled to be compensated for the harms inflicted. Damages for medical expenses necessary for the treatment necessary as a result of the harm, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life may be recovered. Also, if your family member died as a result of the nursing home’s negligence, the damages include the value of life as well as possible claims for loss of consortium or the loss of relationship for spouses and children with very close relationships to the deceased.

If the act of negligence was particularly egregious and involve conduct that was intentional or reckless punitive damages may be recovered. Punitive damages are intended to punish the person or entity for their intentional, reckless, wanton, or careless actions, and to act as a deterrent to others from engaging in the same type of conduct in the future.

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Elder Abuse

For almost three decades, Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero has supported vulnerable people throughout New Mexico. Our firm proudly represents young victims of abuse, whether their mistreatment occurred at the hands of a parent, guardian, or another authority figure. We also represent elderly abuse victims, who are often targeted in healthcare and nursing care facilities.

Types of Elder Abuse

There are many types of elder abuse, each of which can have a profound impact on the life of the victim:

  • Abandonment – Some seniors require round-the-clock care, particularly when they suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Abandonment occurs when the person responsible for providing such care leaves an elder with inadequate support or care.
  • Neglect – Neglect can often be identified by an unkempt appearance, which signals that personal grooming is not being attended to. A neglected senior may also exhibit signs of malnourishment if proper sustenance is not being afforded.
  • Physical – Unexplained bruises, cuts, scrapes, broken bones, or other issues may signal physical abuse of your elderly loved one.  
  • Psychological – While it has less obvious effects, psychological abuse often causes a marked change in the person experiencing it. Some people appear sullen or withdrawn and may even experience problems with depression and anxiety.
  • Sexual – As an especially heinous crime, sexual abuse can have lasting physical and emotional consequences for the victim.

What You Can Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse

When it comes to nursing home abuse, legal action shines a light on the poor conditions within a facility to hopefully enact real change. Filing suit against the abuser also prevents other elderly people from experiencing the same.

Here at Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, our elder abuse lawyers in Albuquerque know how hard it is when someone you love is being mistreated. We also know that pursuing justice against the perpetrator is about more than receiving compensation; it’s about achieving a sense of justice for what occurred.

What Can I Do If My Loved One Is a Victim?

If you’re afraid your loved one is in immediate danger, they should be removed from the home as soon as possible. You should inform the administrator of the issue so corrective action can be taken. Additionally, complaints about nursing homes can be filed with the New Mexico Department of Health. If you’re interested in pursuing a negligence claim as well, Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero is here to help you. Elderly people and others requiring a high level of care are vulnerable to harm and rely upon those tasked with caring for them.

We ensure families are aware of their legal options when nursing home staff and administrators fail in these duties. Please call (505) 806-1780 or contact us online to discuss your case today.

"Not only are they highly competent, ethical, smart and efficient, they are very kind. They have provided the best representation and assistance imaginable and I would, without any reservation whatsoever, highly recommend this law firm."
Dorian D.
Our History

Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, P.C. is a local law firm with local and national recognition for having the expertise to handle the toughest cases. Over a century ago, David B. Martinez’s grandparents realized their dream of building a general store at the corner of Rio Grande and Indian School. “A century later, David B. Martinez and F. Michael Hart built this law firm on the same corner of Rio Grande and Indian School where David’s family had built their general store.” The corner of Rio Grande and Indian School is now home to Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, P.C., which holds the same dedication to serving the needs of the surrounding community.