New Mexico residents who have elderly loved ones in an assisted living facility or nursing home should be aware of the risk of abuse that can occur in such environments. More importantly, they should know what steps to take if they become aware of the abuse. If an elderly victim is believed to be in imminent danger, local law enforcement authorities or adult protective services should be contacted immediately.
In the United States, there are many laws, statutes and regulations that govern the nursing home industry. Both nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required by state and federal laws to adhere to a specific level of care. They are also required to comply with the 'Residents Bill of Rights," which details the various rights of residents, including right to receive good medical care, be treated respectfully and not be subjected to any form of abuse.
If an elderly resident has been a victim of abuse in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, the victim or someone authorized to act on behalf of the victim may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the entity. Civil claims can be filed for medical malpractice, wrongful death, breach of contract, negligence and more. Individuals who are pursuing damages against a nursing home on behalf of an elderly loved one should have a declaration of guardianship over them or a power of attorney.
A civil case involving nursing home abuse differs from that of a criminal case. With a civil suit, the plaintiff intends to obtain financial compensation for the losses suffered by the victim. A personal injury attorney may advise victims of nursing home neglect about their legal options. Financial damages may be pursued against the individuals who committed the abuse as well as the facility in which the abuse occurred.