Are Legal Options Available for Nursing Home COVID-19 Cases?

Few groups were hit as hard by COVID-19 as nursing home residents. The New York Times has reported that over 40% of all U.S. deaths caused by the coronavirus are linked to nursing homes.

That shocking statistic highlights not just the vulnerability of elderly people to the coronavirus, but also how many nursing homes failed those they were supposed to protect.

Lawsuits against nursing homes for coronavirus-related deaths and illnesses are now becoming commonplace across the U.S.

An Increasing Number of Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes

There are several instances of surviving family members of nursing home residents killed by COVID-19 or COVID-related complications taking legal action against these facilities and their parent companies for negligence against their loved ones.

USA Today recently reported the case of a man whose mother died in a Michigan nursing home, which prompted the son to file a legal claim against the company that owns the nursing home. It’s one of three lawsuits filed against the company because of the nursing home’s insufficient actions handling the pandemic.

CNN recently reported another lawsuit being filed by the nephew of a New Jersey nursing home resident who died during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The suit alleges that the facility failed to provide the care legally required during the pandemic.

These two high-profile cases echo many similar stories across the U.S. about emerging lawsuits. Collectively, they paint a picture of an industry that has completely mishandled the pandemic.

Why Nursing Homes Can Expect More Lawsuits

In addition to reports of lawsuits against nursing homes, there are countless stories of these facilities failing to protect residents and, in some cases, taking steps that likely caused elderly people harm.

In Pennsylvania, one veteran’s nursing home is under fire for failing to screen the temperatures of staff entering the building each day and enforcing social distancing policies. The same facility allegedly allowed employees to work in both COVID-positive and COVID-negative units in the same day.

In August 2020, senators called for federal investigations against several nursing homes that allegedly treated residents with the antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, without the consent of patients or their family members, according to the Washington Post.

Those reports, along with many more, signal a significant amount of liability on part of some negligent nursing homes. As more of these stories are made public, it’s highly likely that more lawsuits will follow.

Barriers to Filing Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes

As early as June 2020, at least 21 states had enacted policies limiting the liability healthcare facilities face due to the pandemic. Nine of those states specifically limit the liability of nursing homes. Fortunately for Indiana residents, those policies haven’t been enacted here.

These legal obstacles represent just some of the challenges facing nursing home residents and their loved ones. It’s often the case that families who have signed arbitration agreements are led to believe they are without legal options when their loved dies or becomes ill in a nursing home.

It’s Important to Understand Your Legal Options

Families of loved ones who suffer serious injuries or illnesses in nursing homes should know that they often have a legal path available to win compensation. As a law firm that focuses on nursing home abuse and neglect cases, we can tell you that you should always explore legal options before giving up hope.

If your loved one suffered serious injuries or illness in a negligent nursing home, we encourage you to contact Wagner Reese today for a free consultation.