State Court Finds Potential Liability for Mandatory Reports of Elder Abuse

Earlier this May, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington released its opinion in a tort claim originating from a tragic death back in 2009. According to the court’s opinion, an elderly woman died from morphine intoxication while she was residing at an adult family home. After the woman’s death, the family’s representative brought a lawsuit against several individuals who were involved in the care of the elderly woman, including the nursing services company that employed the nurses.

Old Man's HandSpecifically, the family claimed that two nurses saw the signs of abuse but did not report them to the Department of Social and Health Services. At trial, the defendants moved to dismiss the case, claiming that the state statute did not automatically create a cause of action against those who  fail to report abuse, even if they are mandatory reporters. The trial court and the Court of Appeals both agreed. However, the plaintiffs appealed the suit to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court reviewed the state statute and held that the act does in fact create a private cause of action against those mandatory reporters who fail to report neglect or abuse. Furthermore, they found that there was a genuine dispute of a material fact, and therefore the lower court should not have granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

New Mexico Mandatory Reporting Duties for Children and the Elderly

Mandatory reporting is a term that is used to describe individuals who have a legally imposed duty to report certain types of abuse to government authorities. Often, mandatory reporting is used in the context of elder and child abuse, and the duty is mostly imposed on physicians, nurses, teachers, and other similarly situated individuals.

If an elderly loved one is injured or killed due to the abuse of a caregiver, there may be additional parties from which recovery is available. To learn more, speak with a dedicated New Mexico nursing home negligence and abuse attorney.

Has Your Loved One Suffered in a New Mexico Nursing Home?

If you have a loved one in a New Mexico nursing home, and you believe that they may be suffering from abuse or neglect, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Nurses have a duty to care for their patients, and other parties may have a duty to report abuse in some situations. In New Mexico, these cases can be tricky because although there is a written statute, it has been interpreted differently by the courts, and this could affect a civil lawsuit. However, the attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have many years of experience handling nursing home abuse lawsuits and can represent your best interests. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you or your loved one suffered. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation at 800-640-6590.

More Blog Posts:

Court Holds City Employee Not Entitled to Immunity in Premises Liability Case, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 7, 2016.

State Court Holds Recreational Immunity Does Not Apply to Hot-Air Balloon Company Providing Free Rides on Another’s Property, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2016.