COVID-19 Liability Law for Nursing Homes Lifted in New York

man in a NY nursing home with COVID-19

In a victory for New York nursing home residents and their families, Governor Cuomo recently repealed a law that made it nearly impossible to sue facilities and hospitals for negligent care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, the governor signed the Emergency or Disaster Protection Act, which granted immunity to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and healthcare workers for their handling of patients and patient care as the novel coronavirus ravaged New York. As a result, only claims for gross negligence were permitted.

The new law, which was signed on April 6, 2021, rolls back New York nursing home liability protections, exposing providers to potential criminal and civil claims. More than 15,000 residents of nursing homes and other facilities died from COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health.

If you lost a family member to COVID-19 in an elder care facility or hospital, you could have a valid legal claim against them. Talk to a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer at Finz & Finz, P.C. today.

Our law firm is dedicated to protecting New Yorkers, especially those who depend on nursing homes and assisted living facilities to care for seniors during their golden years. For over three decades, our proven attorneys have successfully obtained full and fair compensation for victims of nursing home negligence. Let us help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.

We can get started today. Call or contact the experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island for a free consultation.

What to Do if a Loved One Died of COVID-19 in a Nursing Home or Hospital

Nursing homes care for one of our most vulnerable populations — the elderly and disabled. As family members, we entrust their well-being to these providers and count on these facilities and their workers to take every possible step to keep our loved ones healthy. Tragically, that was not the case during the pandemic.

As infection rates and deaths spiked in nursing homes throughout New York, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) quickly issued guidance to lessen the spread and save lives.

Among the recommendations were:

  • Monitor residents and new admissions for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Delay and limit visits from non-essential personnel.
  • Create an area of the facility exclusively for COVID patients, and identify staff members to manage efforts to prevent spread throughout facilities.
  • Educate staff about the risks of transmitting the coronavirus to others.
  • Implement visitor restrictions and make possible other ways of remote communications between residents and family members, such as Zoom or FaceTime.
  • Require residents and visitors to wear masks and meet outdoors where feasible.
  • Provide regular cleanings, replenish supplies, and supply adequate PPE such as face masks and face shields to staff.
  • Conduct regular health screenings of staff, residents, and visitors.
  • Provide ample sick leave and non-punitive policies for employees who demonstrate symptoms or are exposed to others with COVID-19.
  • Take aggressive social distancing measures.
  • Limit participation in social activities.
  • Post signs to inform people of the restrictions.

Even an unprecedented public health crisis does not relieve nursing home facilities from their obligation to implement and follow every protocol possible to protect their residents and patients. Preventing the coronavirus’s spread and providing appropriate treatment to patients who became ill should have been the top priority. Failure to live up to their responsibilities could certainly be grounds for a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit. That’s why you need to contact a lawyer – to understand what went wrong and to learn about your legal options.

An experienced New York nursing home COVID-19 lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death to determine whether any violations contributed to his or her passing. Then, they can prepare a factually and legally compelling claim demonstrating how the facility failed and why you deserve maximum compensation for your loss.

How to Prove Medical Negligence With COVID-19 Cases

The number of COVID-19 cases against nursing homes will likely rise dramatically in New York — and, in many cases, with good cause.

Negligence cases are grounded in demonstrating that a nursing home or other provider failed to take reasonable measures to prevent others from becoming infected with the coronavirus and/or provide adequate treatment to the ill. For example, a facility that failed to follow regulations for sanitization and isolating COVID patients could be held liable for contributing to the spread of the disease to other residents.

If the patient was exposed to or died from COVID-19 at a hospital, the treating doctor or facility could be subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, cases involving medical negligence are handled differently than personal injury claims.

Rather than just proving that negligence occurred, claimants in a medical malpractice action must show that the patient’s treatment fell below an acceptable standard of care. In other words, they must prove that the patient’s doctor failed to provide appropriate treatment in a manner that another doctor with a similar background and similar experience should and would have provided. It’s a complicated burden of proof, made more challenging because doctors worldwide are still struggling to determine the best practices for treating COVID-19 patients and preventing the spread of infection to nearby patients and staff. For this reason, it’s critical to work with a skilled lawyer who is paying close attention to how the law is evolving when it comes to COVID-19 claims.

Reach Out to a NY COVID-19 Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer

The highly experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. will enforce your rights if you or a loved one is a victim of COVID-19 nursing home negligence in New York or Long Island. Call or fill out our convenient online form now for a free and confidential consultation.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.