As the outbreak of coronavirus has quickly escalated into a pandemic, at-risk individuals (including the elderly and those with chronic conditions) are more vulnerable to serious complications from the virus. But are some nursing homes to blame for residents becoming infected? The global crisis has hit nursing homes hard. If your loved one has become ill with COVID-19 or dies, you may have a negligence lawsuit, especially if the facility didn’t take measures to prevent exposure.
Why Is Coronavirus Spreading Through Nursing Homes?
There’s evidence many care facilities aren’t following CDC guidelines or taking precautions that would be considered reasonable measures to prevent infection. Frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact, and disinfecting surfaces can help prevent transmission of coronavirus. Nursing home staff can wipe down chairs and tables, and wear protective gear such as masks and gloves, to keep each nursing home resident as safe as possible. They can also:
Isolate individuals suspected of being infected with coronavirus (with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath).
Prevent infected employees from interacting with residents, food, linens, and other items.
Report infection control incidents and take preventative actions.
The risk of infection is highest in people over age 65.
According to the CDC, the fatality rate is highest for patients 85 and older, ranging from 10% to 27%, and 3% to 11% for those 65 to 84.1
However, younger people can become coronavirus victims as well. The CDC has also found that as many as one-fifth of people aged 20 to 44 infected with COVID-19 have been hospitalized.2
Both younger and older individuals have opportunities to be exposed to the virus. While work and school environments present risks of exposure, older Americans with pre-existing illnesses, and who are treated for coronavirus due to potential negligent transmission at a nursing home, have paid the price. As of April 10, close to 2,500 long-term care facilities in 36 states were dealing had coronavirus cases.3
Nursing Homes and Duty of Care
Nursing homes have a duty of care to protect their residents. By law, they must follow an Infection Control Program that includes steps to investigate, control, and prevent infections; isolate carriers, and; maintain detailed records of infections and preventative measures taken.
If a loved one has become infected, your personal injury lawyer will need a copy of the nursing home’s infection control record. They’ll also look at whether COVID-19 cases were reported to health authorities. In comparing the response to the applicable standard of care, an attorney can determine whether the facility or a staff member is liable for negligence.
Potential for Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuits
Sadly, nursing home negligence is nothing new. A nursing home lawsuit can be filed to seek damages for elder abuse, prescription drug injuries, and conditions associated with being exposed to and infected by COVID-19. Residents continue to wrongfully die when infection could have easily been prevented. You can sue and possibly receive settlement funds if a loved one was treated for coronavirus; the money can be used to pay for medical care and compensate for other damages related to your personal injury claim, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and wrongful death.
Trust the Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
Proving negligence is the most important step in winning your case. At the Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, we’re dedicated to helping clients affected by COVID-19, including our elderly and more at-risk clients. Feel free to view our list of best practices to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect your business. But if you need a personal injury lawyer, we’ll help determine whether you can file a negligence lawsuit and will hold any nursing home accountable for harm to your loved one.