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Personal Injury Victims

State child services agency sued for wrongful death

| May 26, 2021 | Wrongful Death |

Children are precious and vulnerable. They deserve to be adequately cared for in safe environments that are free of neglect and abuse. That’s why New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) was created, to ensure that reports of abuse and neglect are thoroughly investigated, children are removed from dangerous environments, and families can get the help that they need to ensure that they can safely care for their children.

But the system is far from perfect. When it comes to child safety, even seemingly minor errors can have enormous ramifications. One recently filed lawsuit against the CYFD paints the picture all too well.

CYFD faces lawsuit after boy’s death

The CYFD is now facing a wrongful death lawsuit after the death of a four-year-old boy. According to reports, the boy was taken to the hospital in December 2019 after being found with serious injuries in an Albuquerque apartment. Tragically, the boy didn’t survive. A family friend has been charged in the boy’s death. Law enforcement officials believe that he beat the boy to death.

Following his death, eyes turned to the CYFD given that the child and his family had extensive involvement with the Department. On several occasions, the child disclosed that he didn’t feel safe in his familial home, that he didn’t get enough food to eat, and even that he was sexually abused. Despite all this, the State never removed the child from the home. Instead, workers with CYFD created a safety plan. That safety plan included disallowing the family friend from watching the child.

The sad realities of a wrongful death

This case is nothing short of tragic. Yet, it’s one that we hear time and again in the Albuquerque area. Individuals are entrusted with the care of another and they fail to live up to their responsibilities, resulting in serious harm or death. Surviving family member often struggle with the realities that befall them following one of these incidences, which include the emotional turmoil and the financial ramifications brought on by medical expenses, funeral care, and, ins some instances, lost wages. These are difficult times for these families, and it can be hard to see what the future has in store for them.

Finding accountability and closure

These surviving families usually have a lot of questions. What happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? Legal action can help find answers to these questions. While that can certainly help bring about a certain sense of closure, it can also provide very real financial relief while at the same time securing accountability. After all, in a lot of these wrongful death cases involving State agencies or businesses like a hospital or nursing home, nothing hurts more than a blow to their reputation, their public perception, and their budgets.

But succeeding on a wrongful death claim like the one involving CYFD can be enormously challenging. Generally speaking, four elements must be shown before a wrongful death claim can succeed. Those elements are that a duty existed, that the duty of care was breached, that the breach of duty caused the death in question, and damages resulted from that death.

It might sound easy enough, but there can be very real legal challenges that pervade each of these elements. That’s why if you’re in this situation then it might be best to work closely with a skilled legal advocate who can help you gather the evidence that you need and develop the legal arguments that are necessary to position you for success. Perhaps then you can secure the financial resources that you need and deserve, find accountability, and give your lost loved one the voice that was so tragically taken away from them.


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