Can I Sue a Nursing Home for Coronavirus-Related Damages?
Just because the elderly are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 doesn’t mean all nursing home residents will inevitably contract the virus. Facilities that follow all recommended guidelines for containing existing cases and preventing new ones can protect their residents and staff amid the outbreak.
But what if your loved one’s nursing home waited too long to implement the necessary safety measures, or failed to take appropriate precautions at all? Sadly, many families around the country are facing this sad reality.
If your relative contracted COVID-19 while living at a long-term care facility, your family may be able the sue for damages on the grounds of negligence. To give your claim the best chance of success, here’s what you should know about building a strong case:
1. You Will Have to Demonstrate How the Facility Breached Their Duty of Care
It’s not enough to prove that your loved one contracted coronavirus while living at the nursing home. In order to recover damages, you must demonstrate how he or she would not have fallen ill had administrators and staff taken reasonable measures to control the outbreak at their facility.
Did they fail to disinfect high-traffic areas frequently, for example? Did they allow visitors when they should have been on total lockdown? Did they let nurses who had been exposed to the virus continue working without providing them personal protective equipment? Did they fail to isolate potentially infected residents? These are just a few examples of negligence that could have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 at the facility.
2. You Will Have to Track Damages Diligently
Victims of nursing home neglect are entitled to seek all the same damages that other personal injury plaintiffs may pursue, including:
- Medical bills;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress; and
- Loss of enjoyment in life.
If your loved one died from coronavirus-related complications, your family may seek compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Medical expenses incurred while treating the virus;
- The deceased’s conscious pain and suffering; and
- Loss of companionship, care, and guidance.
In order to recover any of the damages listed above, though, you’ll have to prove that you or your loved one actually incurred them. You may be able to do so using medical records, journal entries, and psychiatric evaluations, as well as relevant receipts, invoices, and bills.
3. You Will Have to Meet Strict Filing Deadlines
If the facility proves uncooperative or their insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, you may have to file a formal lawsuit. In New York, most personal injury suits must be brought within three years. If you intend to sue for wrongful death, however, the filing deadline is two years. As there are a number of exceptions to these statutes, though, it’s wise to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Discuss Your Claim with a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney in New York
Not all personal injury attorneys are equipped to take on long-term care facilities, but LoTempio P.C. Law Group’s Brian Knauth has an impressive track record of success doing so. He has secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for his clients, and he’s not afraid to go up against even the largest healthcare institutions. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a nursing home neglect lawyer in New York.