Can You Sue a Nursing Home if a Loved One Contracts COVID-19?
Of all the ways COVID-19 has caused stress for the residents of Florida, perhaps no group has felt it more than residents within nursing homes. Not only were they unable to see their loved ones for several months, but one case of the coronavirus in a nursing home facility can spell disaster for everyone within the home. In some instances, residents or their loved ones may be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home if an elder contracts COVID-19 while in a nursing home. However, these lawsuits are extremely complex, and families should always work with a Florida nursing home abuse/neglect lawyer that can help them through the process.
The Rights of Residents in Nursing Homes
Florida law outlines many rights all residents of nursing homes are entitled to. These include the right to:
- Receive all necessary healthcare and protective services
- Be treated fairly, courteously, and with dignity
- Be free from all forms of abuse/neglect
- Live in a safe environment
Additionally, the Nursing Home Reform Act, which is federal legislation, also provides many of these same rights. When these rights are violated, residents or their loved ones can file a lawsuit against the nursing home alleging abuse/neglect or neglect. In regards to COVID-19, there are very specific elements of a case one must prove throughout the lawsuit.
Filing a COVID-19 Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home
Any time a person wants to file a lawsuit against a nursing home, they must prove that the facility owed them or a loved one a duty of care, that the facility breached that duty, and that the resident suffered harm as a result. A breach of a duty of care means that the nursing home or its staff members were negligent. As such, a resident that contracts COVID-19 does not automatically mean the nursing home is liable.
In order to file a lawsuit, a resident or their loved one must be able to prove the facility was negligent, and that it was their negligence that caused the resident to contract the virus. For example, if a family member unknowingly visited the facility prior to the emergency orders being issued and they were infected with COVID-19, spreading the virus to their loved one is not a form of negligence on the part of the nursing home staff members.
However, if after the risk of COVID-19 was evident and nursing home staff members did not take proper procedures, that could indicate negligence and form the basis of a lawsuit. A failure to take proper precautions may include not changing gloves after every use, failing to implement proper cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and allowing non-essential individuals to enter a nursing home.
Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect Lawyer can Review Your Case
Although in some instances, a resident of their loved one may be able to file a lawsuit against a nursing home over COVID-19, these cases are not easy to prove. At Kohn Law, our Tampa nursing home abuse/neglect lawyer knows how to determine nursing home staff members were negligent, and collect the necessary evidence to prove that claim. If you or a loved one has contracted COVID-19 while inside a nursing home, call us today at (813) 428-8504 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation so we can review your case.