The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating effect on millions of people around the world but was especially fatal for those living in nursing homes. Older people and those with preexisting conditions are more vulnerable to the virus and their cases are often more severe. As a result, hundreds of nursing homes experienced widespread outbreaks among patients and staff, and some were slow to take proper precautions to contain the spread.
The ABA reports that attorneys have filed thousands of wrongful death and negligence cases across the country already. If your family member became ill or died as a result of contracting COVID-19 in a nursing home, you may be able to sue the facility with the help of an experienced nursing home negligence lawyer.
Unprepared Nursing Homes
In the United States alone, the nursing home population suffered 657,874 total COVID-19 cases and 133,482 deaths. This health disaster highlighted existing problems in some of these facilities. Many nursing homes were understaffed before the pandemic and were left unable to provide necessary care to their vulnerable patients once COVID-19 hit their facilities.
These nursing homes were caught off guard without adequate personnel and medical supplies to combat the illness that swept through patient populations. Many nursing home residents did not get the medical attention they needed, and their families were often misled about the seriousness of their loved one’s condition.
Before the pandemic, you could sue nursing homes for standard negligence if your family member had suffered due to inadequate care. The standard for COVID-19 lawsuits is now higher in nearly 30 states because of new state laws crafted to protect this branch of the healthcare industry. In states like Illinois, New York, and Michigan, plaintiffs must now prove gross negligence to win compensation from nursing homes.
Gross negligence is a higher standard to meet because you must prove the nursing home showed deliberate or reckless disregard for your loved one’s health and safety. Approximately twenty states still accept standard negligence, which means you only need to prove the facility failed to meet a general standard of care.
Unfortunately, temporary nursing home immunity laws have made it more difficult to successfully pursue many non-COVID-19 negligence cases against these facilities. The legal changes apply to all cases, and not just COVID-19 illness or death. If the staff failed to provide adequate care in any situation, the nursing home immunity laws protect them from lawsuits.
Filing a Lawsuit
The pandemic harmed everyone, but it especially preyed on the elderly and others in nursing homes. You can hold substandard nursing homes accountable! If you believe you have a case, you should consult with an experienced nursing home negligence lawyer from Napoli Shkolnik, a firm that has offices around the country. One of our expert attorneys can perform a free evaluation of your case according to pertinent state law and advise you if it meets the necessary criteria to proceed.
If your loved one suffered or died as a result of inadequate care during this period, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC by communicating with an online agent or by calling us directly.