COVID-19 Exposure in a Nursing Home Lawsuits
With the COVID-19 coronavirus continuing to spread across the U.S., nursing home residents have never been more vulnerable, and staff safety protocols have never been more important. If your loved one became ill or died from COVID-19 at a nursing home, you might be entitled to significant financial compensation.
COVID-19 is a disease affecting individuals all over the world. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable. Nursing home residents are a high-risk group for exposure to the viral infection and developing life-threatening respiratory symptoms.
Now more than ever, the staff at nursing homes need to be vigilant about preventing their patients from exposure. When they fail to care for the elderly residents properly, they could be held liable for any resulting diagnoses.
The nursing home attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. have the experience needed to evaluate and handle your case. Call us now at (815) 929-9292 to set up a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we won’t charge you anything if we don’t win your case.
Why Are Nursing Home Patients More Susceptible to COVID-19 Symptoms?
Most people living in nursing facilities require assistance in feeding, bathing, and other essential care. Many also have diseases or conditions that could increase the severity of their symptoms if they catch COVID-19. With social distancing becoming an essential part of eradicating the disease, nursing homes across the country are limiting visitors or prohibiting them altogether.
Unfortunately, maintaining a distance of six feet or greater is difficult for those who depend on the nurses for mobility and care. The staff at nursing homes are supposed to follow specific guidelines to ensure they don’t develop and spread COVID-19 from one patient to the next. It’s essential that they wash their hands, wear masks and gloves, and limit interactions between the residents.
If an elderly individual in a nursing home does show symptoms of COVID-19, they need to remain in their room and away from other people. The staff is supposed to use personal protective equipment every time they interact with the infected resident and monitor their health. If symptoms become severe, they should get transferred to an emergency room.
How to Hold the Nursing Home Responsible
When someone becomes suddenly ill or dies suddenly while in a nursing facility, it’s heartbreaking and overwhelming. It may be impossible to fully grieve while you’re trying to figure out why it happened in the first place. If your loved one developed COVID-19 symptoms that were severe or fatal, you could potentially file an insurance claim or lawsuit for a financial award.
You must establish negligence on the part of the nursing facility if you want to pursue legal action against them. The elements of a negligence-based case include:
- Duty: the nursing home owed your loved one a duty of care;
- Breach of duty: the facility breached that duty of care;
- Cause in fact: if not for the breach, your loved one wouldn’t have developed COVID-19;
- Proximate cause: this direct failure (and nothing else) caused the illness; and
- Damages: there was a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, resulting in expenses.
If you have proof that the nursing home staff was negligent, and that’s why your loved one developed COVID-19, you can pursue compensation for the cost of treatment, pain and suffering, and other necessary expenses.
Damages Available in Nursing Home Cases
Economic: Expenses for treatment, funeral costs resulting from death, loss of income for the person caring for the nursing home patient.
Non-economic: Physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of quality of life.
Punitive: Punitive damages don’t intend to compensate the victim for their losses. Instead, it’s a punishment against the negligent party for causing the injury. Punitive damages are relatively rare, and are usually only awarded in instances of gross or willful negligence.
The liability insurance company responsible for paying settlements on behalf of the nursing home will provide a monetary award based on COVID-19 symptoms, if it caused a fatality, and how much insurance coverage is available. You can claim losses for your loved one, as well as your own. If you had to take time away from work or suffered emotional trauma as a result of this situation, you could potentially pursue compensation for that as well.
Nursing Home Lawsuit for COVID-19 Exposure
If you choose to file a lawsuit against the nursing home, you’ll need to provide sufficient evidence that their action or inaction exposed your loved one to COVID-19. There’s a deadline you need to follow to pursue civil action in court against another party. The statute of limitations for nursing home cases is two years. You only have two years from the date of the diagnosis to seek compensation for damages.
If your loved one died as a result of negligence, you could potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party or facility. The statute of limitations is one year from the date of the victim’s death. To sue the nursing home for your loved one’s death, you must be a personal representative of their estate. The personal representative is usually a surviving spouse, parent, or child.
Hire a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Spiros Law, P.C. believes in fighting for justice for our clients. Nursing home residents are vulnerable to many risks, including illnesses. If the staff doesn’t provide a safe environment, their patients end up developing diseases or sustaining injuries that could be harmful or fatal.
To find out how Spiros Law, P.C. can help you if your loved one’s COVID-19 exposure led to illness or death in their nursing home, call (815) 929-9292 today.