Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim for COVID Against a Nursing Home?

March 23, 2021

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 174,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died. Most elderly residents have serious medical conditions and are more susceptible to contracting a virus and developing complications. And, because they live in close quarters and often get in contact with other people, they are more likely to contract a deadly virus, such as COVID-19.

Nursing homes are required to follow strict health standard and protocols to protect their residents and employees, but as we've seen since the beginning of the pandemic, many have failed to follow even the most basic CDC requirements, such as providing masks to residents and staff, isolating those who test positive, or properly screening employees and residents. 

If a loved one has died from COVID complications while residing in a nursing home, you may be wondering if you can file a wrongful death claim against the facility. Here's what you need to know and how a good San Diego wrongful death attorney can help.

Does the Law Shield Nursing Homes from COVID Deaths?

At the beginning of the pandemic, many states issued liability shields to protect nursing homes and other healthcare providers against civil lawsuits. In fact, more than half of all states have issued such liability shields with Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts among them. Florida and California, on the other hand, have not granted liability immunity to nursing homes and other long-care facilities. 

But, although healthcare providers and nursing homes have immunity against various civil liabilities, these shields are not impenetrable. If the facilities are found guilty of gross negligence and intentional or reckless misconduct, then they can be held liable.

When Can a Nursing Home Be Held Liable for a COVID-Related Death?

Nursing homes can't be held responsible for every injury or death that occurs within their facility. They must offer appropriate care and ensure a safe environment, but if an earthquake affects the facility and injures some of the residents, then the nursing home can't be held liable. 

The pandemic was caused by a novel virus and it took a bit of a learning curve until the scientific community was able to establish a protocol and clear guidelines for staying as safe as possible. If the nursing home failed to follow these guidelines and implement even the most basic measures to ensure the safety of its residents and staff, then that could be considered gross negligence or reckless misconduct.

What Should I Do If a Loved One Died Due to COVID-19 in a Nursing Home?

No amount of money could bring your loved one back, but seeking justice can sometimes have a healing effect.

If a loved one died due to COVID-19 in a nursing home, then you should get in touch with an experienced San Diego wrongful death attorney right away. They can help you build your case and have the party that has caused the death of your beloved family member face justice for their actions.

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