The unfortunate truth about COVID-19 is that elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions are much more likely to become seriously ill or die than are younger, healthier people. However, this does not mean an elderly loved one’s death from COVID was inevitable. In some cases, long-term care facilities and nursing homes are not taking the minimal steps necessary to help protect those in their care.
If this is the case for your loved one, then it might be true that the workers at the facility are guilty of elder abuse. You can contact the police to see if criminal charges are relevant, and you can contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 to learn how a civil case can be filed.
Residents in Nursing Homes Have Your Rights and More
A person who is in a nursing home has the rights that all citizens have, and they gain additional rights by state law. For example, they have the right to be treated with dignity, to receive adequate and appropriate health care services, to be free from abuse (both mental and physical), and to live in an environment that is safe and free from neglect.
A Nursing Home Can Only Be Held Responsible in Specific Situations
While it is possible to sue a nursing home or care facility if your loved one contracts COVID and dies, you must be able to prove that the infection resulted directly from the nursing home acting negligently. This requires proving three elements:
- That the nursing home owed a duty of care to the resident. Non-medical employees of the nursing home have a duty of “reasonable care,” but medical professionals have a higher duty of care.
- That the nursing home breached that duty of care.
- That the breach of the duty of care resulted in harm to the resident.
Notably, the nursing home does not have the responsibility of preventing 100% of COVID outbreaks.
Examples of Breaching Duty of Care When it Comes to COVID
One case in Washington involved a nursing home in which one resident contracted COVID and was not quarantined for more than two weeks. Several residents then died, which the surviving family members argued would not have died if the original patient had been quarantined. In other cases, nursing homes might not take adequate cleaning and/or disinfecting measures, or might not change gloves between working with different patients.
These are tricky cases, and they require working with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine what your options are. Contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 now to request a free legal consultation. We can go over the basics of your case to determine if you have grounds for a case.