COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities for the elderly. Were any of these facilities negligent? Can families of COVID-19 victims seek damages? A Florida nursing home negligence attorney can help your family take legal action.
If your loved one fell ill with COVID-19 and you file a lawsuit, some of the things we will look into when determining if a facility was negligent include:
- Did the facility properly screen staff, visitors, vendors, and personal caretakers for symptoms, fever, or illness?
- Was the staff educated on proper hand washing and cleaning protocols (such as disinfecting of surfaces and objects)?
- Did the facility restrict visitors who may have been carriers of the virus?
- Did the facility notify the residents and their families when a roommate or other patient contracted the virus?
- Was the staff provided with proper equipment to prevent the spread of the disease?
- Did the facility properly quarantine and/or isolate residents who were diagnosed with coronavirus?
- Were proper social distancing measures implemented in a timely manner?
- Did the facility communicate with the families to discuss the resident’s diagnosis?
The answers to these questions will help us determine whether or not the nursing home or long-term care facility was negligent.
On April 18th, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the disclosure of the names of nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have reported COVID-19 cases. Disturbingly, the list named more than 300 facilities in 45 Florida counties.
If your loved one has contracted coronavirus in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s in your best interest to speak to our attorneys to discuss your right to compensation. The attorneys at Lipcon & Lipcon have decades of experience and success litigating against negligent nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Florida.
What Does the Law Require of Long-Term Residential Care Facilities?
COVID-19 has taken many of us by surprise, but assisted living facilities and nursing homes are required by law to be prepared for a communicable infection outbreak. However, news reports indicate that some facilities are running out of basic supplies like surgical gloves and masks.
There are also reports of serious understaffing at some nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with large numbers of employees either calling in sick or staying home because they’re afraid of getting sick.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Nevertheless, some facilities were caught totally unprepared for dealing with a pandemic. The failure of a facility to be prepared for a viral pandemic may constitute negligence and may serve as the basis of a lawsuit seeking damages.
How Can Long-Term Care Facilities Protect Residents?
The prevention of COVID-19 is comparable to the prevention of any flu. Social distancing and frequent handwashing are commonsense measures, but nursing homes and assisted living facilities also need basic supplies like gloves and masks.
Nursing homes in Florida and every other state must adhere to the federal regulatory requirements because they accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. Following the regulations set forth by health authorities is a legal obligation for nursing homes.
What Procedures Should Long-Term Care Facilities Establish?
Running out of supplies or failing to follow standard infectious disease protocols may constitute negligence. Standard infectious disease protocols may include:
- Barring visitors from the facility
- Frequently disinfecting objects and surfaces
- Requiring employees to wear gloves and masks
- Complying with all federal regulations
- Isolating residents with COVID-19
Federal regulations require nursing home and assisted living facilities to investigate, control, and make every effort to prevent infections at the facility. Nursing home and assisted living facilities must maintain records of the preventative measures they take and any incident of infection.
Those records can help a Florida nursing home negligence attorney determine if you have grounds for a COVID-19 lawsuit against a negligent nursing home or assisted living facility. If the records indicate that the facility was negligent, they can be used as evidence in your claim.
What Will COVID-19 Lawsuits Accomplish?
The impact of COVID-19 on seniors is frightening, and residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities are especially vulnerable to this virus. If your loved one has contracted coronavirus in a nursing home or assisted living facility, filing a claim can help you hold the at-fault party accountable and recover compensation.
If your loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility became ill with COVID-19, your family may have the right to file a personal injury claim against the facility. If your loved one passed away at a nursing home or assisted living facility due to COVID-19, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
What Can COVID-19 Victims and Their Families Expect to Recover?
In a personal injury claim, victims may be awarded compensation for negligence-related medical costs, personal pain and suffering, and more.
With a wrongful death claim in Florida, surviving family members may recover damages for:
- Their personal suffering and pain
- The decedent’s lost services, support, companionship, and guidance
- The decedent’s final funeral and medical expenses
Elderly people get infections and die in nursing homes in Florida every day. If you file a negligence or wrongful death claim, the question will be whether or not the facility’s response to the pandemic constituted negligence.
Is There a Time Limit for Negligence and Wrongful Death Claims?
For a wrongful death claim, the statute of limitations gives families two years from the date of the death to take legal action. For other injury claims in Florida, the statute of limitations is four years. You can’t wait that long. If your case is COVID-19 related, speak to an attorney at once.
You’ve been reading a general introduction to COVID-19 related lawsuits, but if you need to act on behalf of a loved one, you’ll need personalized legal advice. It won’t cost you anything. Your first consultation with a Florida injury and wrongful death lawyer is free and without obligation.
Moreover, if you and your attorney agree to proceed with a legal action, you’ll pay no attorney’s fees until and unless your claim prevails and your family is compensated. This is called a contingency fee arrangement.
What Steps Can Families Take Right Now?
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. If you have an elderly family member residing in a nursing home or assisted living facility, find out what measures are being taken to protect your loved one, and ask as many questions as it takes until you are comfortable with the answers.
We expect nursing homes and assisted living facilities to provide the very best care for our elderly family members. They deserve no less. If you need to take legal action related to COVID-19 on a family member’s behalf, take the first step and contact an attorney now. To schedule a free consultation, call 1-866-824-4080 or fill out the form on this website.