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Prerequisites for civil action in a nursing home neglect case

In their golden years, senior New Mexico residents may choose to move into a nursing home dedicated toward taking care of the elderly. Generally speaking, the sole purpose of such facilities is to protect their ageing residents from the effects of a deteriorating body and mind and provide the special care and attention they require. However, nursing home neglect, abuse or mistreatment on part of the staff can also have a negative impact on elderly residents.

Legally speaking, the liability of nursing home employees or the owner of such a facility may stem from a poorly maintained premise and infrastructure, negligence with care and supervision and negligence in matters of equipment selection or maintenance. Any of these can potentially form grounds for civil action against a nursing home or a facility of such nature.

In order to establish negligence, the injured party must prove that the owner of the nursing home or his employees was in breach of a duty of care owed to the injured party. Additionally, proving that the breach was directly responsible for the injury and that the conduct of the nursing home's owner or the employees of the facility was the cause of the injury can add to the body of evidence.

However, during the course of nursing home negligence litigation, the defense may try to argue that the cause of the injury can be attributed to the plaintiff's preexisting condition, advanced age or mental condition. Since the nursing home, as per the word of law, takes on a resident as is, with or without a preexisting condition or other such considerations, they are not in a position to waive their liability on such grounds.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Nursing Home Abuse Claims," accessed on Oct. 2, 2014

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