Can a Florida Nursing Home Be Held Liable for Mishandling the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak has hit our country’s nursing homes extremely hard. Forbes Magazine reports that approximately 40 percent of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths have occurred within assisted living centers and long-term care facilities. Tragically, some nursing homes have suffered a devastating impact. As an example, COVID-19 was recently linked to 22 deaths at a long-term care center in Ormond Beach, Florida.
This raises an important question: Can a nursing home be held liable for COVID-19 deaths? While it is a complicated and novel question without clear a precedent, negligent nursing homes should be held accountable. Here, our Miami nursing home abuse attorneys highlight four things to know about COVID-19 exposure and nursing home liability.
- Long-Term Care Facilities are Not Automatically Liable for COVID-19 Exposure
As a starting point, it is important to understand that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not automatically responsible for a COVID-19 death. If you are considering bringing a negligence claim against a Florida nursing home, it is not sufficient to prove that your loved one contracted COVID-19 while residing in the facility. You must establish that the nursing home failed to abide by its legal duties.
- Nursing Home Liability is Based on Negligence
In Florida, nursing home liability is largely based on the legal theory of negligence. To hold a nursing home or long-term care center liable for COVID-19 exposure, you must prove that the careless or reckless actions or inactions allowed for or contributed to the spread of the virus.
- A Comprehensive Investigation is a Must
Before a COVID-19 nursing home neglect claim can be brought against a facility, a comprehensive investigation is required. You need to know what the facility knew, when they knew it, the steps they took to protect patients, and, importantly, what they failed to do. If a nursing home negligently mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic, it may bear liability for patient illnesses or deaths.
- Policy Reforms Could Expand Nursing Home Immunity
There are discussions about expanding nursing home immunity against COVID-19 lawsuits. To this point, Florida has not enacted any significant policy reforms. However, some other jurisdictions, including New York State, have already done so. The nursing home lobby is pushing for expanded immunity in Florida. Though, advocates are pushing back. The Florida Life Care Residents Association (FLCRA) recently sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis asking him to deny expanded immunity for providers. Our law firm is keeping a close watch on the legislative and legal developments that affect nursing home resident rights.
Call Our Miami, FL Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers for Immediate Help
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida nursing home neglect attorneys are committed to providing top quality legal advocacy to victims and their families. If your vulnerable loved one was exposed to COVID-19 in an assisted living facility, we can help. Call us now for a free, confidential initial consultation. With offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we handle nursing home & neglect claims throughout South Florida.