legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
New Mexico Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements (Case Values)
Nursing home abuse and neglect unfortunately affects as many as five million older Americans every year. An investigative analysis from 2015 to 2018 by ProPublica, a journalistic organization ranked New Mexico as the worst state in the country for nursing home deficiencies. The industry association for New Mexico nursing homes points out the state outperforms national averages in several categories, however, the Attorney General’s office is ‘very concerned’ by the state of New Mexico nursing homes.
Two of New Mexico’s nursing homes, Casa Real and the Santa Fe Care Center have faced scrutiny and very low ratings for their level of care. The rising elder population puts increasing pressure on a system already lacking in quality care.Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Found in New Mexico Nursing Homes
New Mexico nursing home residents can potentially face several types of abuse and neglect with serious effects:
- Physical Abuse
Any form of intentional physical injury such as slapping, choking, or hitting qualifies as physical abuse. Residents may also suffer physical injuries from negligent excessive force when moving patients.
- Injuries From Poor Care
Failure to reposition bedridden or wheelchair-bound residents can cause pressure ulcers to form. If the nursing home fails to assess individual fall risks, residents can suffer bone fractures and other serious injuries from repeat falls. A New Mexico woman died in 2013 as a result of poor care and neglect at a Santa Fe Care Center.
- Sexual Abuse
This applies to any form of rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure, or forcing a resident to look at pornographic imagery.
- Medication Errors
Caregivers must administer medications according to prescribing doctors’ orders to ensure accurate and timely dosing. This also prevents dangerous drug interactions during acute medical events like illness requiring antibiotics.
- Wrongful Death
If a loved one suddenly dies in a nursing home, it is imperative to investigate the death immediately to rule out abuse or neglect as a potential cause.
The New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department requires anyone with knowledge of elder abuse to report it to Adult Protective Services immediately. The New Mexico Department of Health also provides resources for reporting care facilities. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect often goes unreported, so it is vital for anyone who visits a nursing home to stay vigilant for signs of abuse or neglect, including:
- Dirty clothes, sheets, and facilities.
- Signs of dehydration or malnutrition.
- Changes in a loved one’s personality, such as symptoms of anxiety or depression in response to ongoing abuse.
- Unexplained injuries or repeat injuries of the same type. The nursing home may not have assessed the victim’s individual fall risk and other medical concerns.
- Sudden diagnosis with a sexually transmitted infection.
- Sudden and/or unexplained death.
Economic damages like the family’s lost income or the cost of additional medical expenses resulting from abuse are relatively straightforward. However, it is also possible for a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit to also yield compensation for the pain and suffering endured by the victim and his or her family. Some of the other factors that may influence the recovery available in a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit include:
- The age of the victim. A younger victim generally receives more compensation as the court assumes he or she has a longer life expectancy than an older victim.
- The overall health of the victim prior to the abuse or neglect. If a victim was in relatively good health before the abuse or neglect began, he or she will likely receive significant recovery to compensate the decline.
- The nature of the abuse or neglect. Different types of abuse and neglect lead to more significant penalties. Additionally, claims resulting from intentional torts like physical or sexual abuse generally lead to more compensation than claims arising from negligence.
- The facility’s conduct and operating practices. The nursing home may face liability for the actions of a staff member if they engaged in unacceptable hiring and background check practices for employees.
Different types of abuse and neglect claims lead to drastically different settlement amounts. Some examples of the different possible case values include:
If you suspect a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a New Mexico nursing home, contact us today to learn more about your grounds for legal action and the type of recovery you could expect from a successful lawsuit.