Nursing Home Negligence in the Time of Covid-19
Nursing Home Negligence is an issue that can not be overlooked as we recover from the effects of Covid-19. Over the past year, numerous issues have arisen regarding claims against nursing homes for the negligent care of patients.
Nursing Home Negligence: An Existing Issue
Even prior to the advent of the Covid.-19 pandemic, nursing homes have been afforded certain protections under New York state law which often make it much more difficult to bring in negligence claim arising from injuries to patients being cared for at the facilities. As a general rule, in order to bring a claim against a nursing home, it is necessary to first obtain all records and other information regarding the treatment, and then obtaining an expert review confirming that malpractice or negligence had occurred, and that it was responsible for the injuries sustained by the patient. Only by having an expert confirm that the treatment was negligent, is it generally possible to bring a lawsuit.
These requirements make it more difficult for families and individuals to pursue negligence claims, due to the costs involved in pursuing the case.
However, in 2020, New York State passed the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act, which was primarily designed to protect nursing homes from standard negligence claims arising from injuries or death caused by Covid-19 at their facilities.
While it might be understandable that, during a pandemic, New York might wish to provide some protections to nursing homes in order to avoid closures, as a result of the new statute, it is much more difficult for families to bring any lawsuit as a result of the death of a loved one at a nursing home.
Under the new standard, in order to bring a claim against a nursing home as a result of a Covid-19 death, showing negligence is simply not sufficient. The new standard instead requires that there be proof of either intentional conduct on the part of the nursing home, or alternatively gross negligence, which is a much higher standard than in normal malpractice cases.
While the standard is more difficult to meet, recent news reports, as well as an investigation done by the New York State Attorney General, Leticia James, have provided a basis to argue that the actions of many of the nursing homes involved in Covid-19 deaths have in fact committed gross negligence in connection with care and treatment of patients, which may allow claims to be pursued against the facilities even under the new standards.
Additionally, members of the Assembly and State Senate are now lobbying to have the standard relaxed in order to allow individuals injured by nursing home negligence during Covid-19 to seek justice for injuries and deaths caused due to the actions of the facilities.
What You Can Do
If you, or a family member, has sustained an injury at a nursing home, whether it be related to Covid-19, or some other negligent act on the part of the nursing home or their employees, it is important to speak with an attorney with experience regarding handling such nursing home negligence cases, in order to negotiate the pitfalls involved in bringing the claims. Simply because the State of New York has attempted to make it more difficult to bring a claim related to Covid-19, at least for the time being, there is still a possibility of holding the nursing homes responsible, depending on the facts of each case.
The Lotempio Law Group has attorneys with decades of experience handling all types of negligence cases, including extensive knowledge in pursuing claims against nursing homes. If you have any concerns about care and treatment provided at a nursing home, please call one of our attorneys for free consultation to discuss whether there is any possibility of bringing it claimed to hold the facility responsible for their actions in providing substandard care.
Contact LoTempio P.C. Law group by calling 716-855-3761 or by using our contact form.