In the United States, nursing homes have the legal obligation to provide adequate care for its residents via the Federal Nursing Home Regulations, but there are times where the system fails to protect the residents, and this can result in the untimely death of a loved one. During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, these deaths saw an increase as residents were put at risk due to inadequate conditions in many nursing homes.
What do you do if your parent or loved one died of COVID-19 while living in a nursing home? What rights do you have in this situation?
In order for the nursing home to be held liable for the death of a loved one, a nursing home abuse attorney would have to prove that the cause of death was directly related to actions taken by the facility. This could come through a nursing home abuse lawyer filing a lawsuit of negligence against the facility.
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, poor hygiene can be classified as a form of negligence by a worker in a nursing home. This can come in the form of failure to keep the resident clean, whether that be changing clothes or bathing, or failure of the healthcare professional to wash their hands while attending to the residents. Failure to provide an adequate amount of staff to maintain the facility, which is an issue in many nursing homes during the pandemic, may also fall under this category. According to research, as high as 95% of nursing home facilities are understaffed, a statistic that has been highlighted in recent months.
You can also file a Wrongful Death Lawsuit. Wrongful death in a nursing home can occur if a resident dies as a direct result of negligence by either the administration of a facility or the employees. These lawsuits can result in compensation for the family of the deceased, change in the quality of care provided by the facility, protection of current and future residents. Those who can file these claims are family members, immediate and extended, or those who have suffered financially. Who can file a lawsuit varies by state. These lawsuits can be settled either through a trial or a settlement. Most wrongful death cases are settled out of court.
One issue that is facing the parties who would like to file a negligence or wrongful death lawsuit against a long-term care facility is the increasing amount of nursing homes pushing for legal immunity in their states. State governments have begun granting civil immunity to nursing homes around the country. North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming were among the first states that granted immunity, and many others have followed suit. Pennsylvania, among others, is providing limited protections for healthcare providers and facilities, and New Jersey is one of the states to pass legislation to protect healthcare providers and facilities as well. Pennsylvania’s legislation, signed by Governor Wolf in May, does not protect the healthcare provider if gross negligence, fraud, malice, or other willful misconduct has occurred.
Call Kwartler Manus Today to Discuss Your COVID-19 Nursing Home Case
If your parent died while living in a nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philadelphia region, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced and compassionate personal injury attorney. Contact Kwartler Manus Online or call the office at 267-457-5570 to schedule a consultation today.