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Court Ruling Could Help COVID-19 Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes

A gavel and a name plate with the engraving COVID-19

A Georgia nursing home neglect lawyer explains why

A federal appeals court ruling could help cases move forward for families who lost loved ones in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a Reuters report, a federal appeals court in October 2021 decided that lawsuits should proceed in state courts. Nursing homes argued the cases should remain in federal court. They cited a law that shields them from pandemic-related lawsuits.

What are nursing home pandemic cases?

In the cases that led to the appeals court ruling, families of four nursing home residents who died of COVID-19 filed lawsuits in state court. They alleged the nursing homes failed to take adequate precautions to keep residents safe from the virus.

Hundreds of similar wrongful death claims were filed but stalled over questions about which courts should hear them. The appeals court ruling provides clarity and a “clear roadmap for litigants,” as one lawyer told Reuters.

The court decision means families could have an easier path to justice when filing claims against facilities.

Nursing homes serve an important role in society. They have an important responsibility to care for our loved ones when they can no longer care for themselves.

Unfortunately, nursing homes sometimes fail to keep their residents safe, which may be grounds for a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit.

Types of nursing home abuse and neglect

If nursing homes fail to contain the spread of a virus and someone living in the facility dies, the facility must be held accountable. Nursing homes are required to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

The facilities should:

  • Provide masks to residents and staff
  • Screen staff members and residents
  • Isolate residents who test positive
  • Ensure sick staff members do not come to the facility to work
  • Properly document and report COVID-19 infections

Their failure to follow protocols may be a case of neglect. But there are other types of neglect that could lead to injuries or fatalities.

They include but are not limited to:

  • Medical neglect: A failure to treat medical conditions such as bedsores or infections or a failure to refer an ill resident for further treatment.
  • Medication errors: A failure to administer medications as prescribed or administering the wrong medication to a resident.
  • Malnutrition: Poor nutrition is not unusual in nursing homes and could lead to dehydration and other health conditions.
  • Failing to maintain safe and sanitary premises: Residents could trip over hazards left on the floor or get sick from food prepared in unsanitary conditions.

What to do if you suspect nursing home neglect

If your loved one died from COVID-19 in a Georgia nursing home, you may have grounds to file a claim. At The Law Office of George S. Johnson, LLC, we can review the facts of your case and help you understand your legal rights and options during a free consultation.

There are no obligations when you talk to us. Just honest answers to help you decide the best course of action. Don’t delay. If you wait too long, you may lose your right to file a lawsuit. Contact us today to see how an experienced nursing home negligence attorney can help you.

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