In California, a nursing home tried to move a wrongful death case into federal court and was rejected.
The nursing home was Glenhaven, and the plaintiffs are the family members of deceased resident Ricardo Salana, who died at age 77 after contracting Covid 19. The family has sued the company for elder abuse, willful misconduct, negligence, and wrongful death.
The Supreme Court rejected the suit because it was a clear attempt to gain immunity from Covid-19 litigation. The Glenhaven suit will proceed in a CA state court. Attempts to move lawsuits related to Covid-19 into federal courts has been a common tactic.
Here in New York, many nursing homes are facing similar lawsuits. Most of the suits are based on the failure of these facilities to properly respond to the disease or take steps to curb the spread of illness among their patients.
Who can launch a Covid-19 lawsuit?
The mere presence of Covid-19 is not enough to launch a nursing home lawsuit against a provider. However, a defendant’s failure to comply with governmental statutes, regulations, and guidance for protecting and caring for patients is.
- Visitor restriction
- Cancellation of communal dining
- Cancellation of group activities
- Adherence to CDC social distancing guidelines
- Screening for fever and respiratory symptoms at the beginning of each shift, and documenting the screening
- Frequent Covid testing
- Identifying staff that work at multiple facilities
- Advising visitors to monitor for symptoms after leaving the facility
- Requiring employees who have tested positive for Covid-19 to remain absent from work for at least 14 days
In short, your personal injury attorney will still have to prove negligence, just as they would in any case. If the nursing home did not follow these guidelines, you may have a case.
What does wrongful death cover?
The spouse, children, and grandchildren of a nursing home abuse victim may receive compensation for funeral expenses, lost social security, medical and nursing expenses, lost inheritance compensation, and compensation for physical pain and suffering and emotional trauma experienced by the decedent prior to death.
It is fair for survivors to seek this compensation in part because of the great deal of money that goes into nursing home care. That money comes out of the family wealth, and if the nursing home fails to do what it was supposed to do (keep a loved one comfortable, cared for, and safe) then both moral and legal grounds for a claim do exist.
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1 in 5 Covid-19 deaths took place in nursing home facilities. One reason is the low standard of care that many for-profit nursing homes engage in on a regular basis.
If your loved one died of Covid-19 because their nursing home failed to adhere to CDC and New York Department of Health standards for managing Covid-19, call today to schedule a free case review. You may be eligible for wrongful death compensation.
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SCOTT B. RICHMAN, ESQ.
Mr. Richman is the Managing Member and Founder of Richman Law Firm PLLC. In his role as Managing Member, Mr. Richman oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm and handles the litigation of the most complex legal matters across a vast array of practice areas and disciplines.