COVID-19 and Nursing Home Negligence
If a loved one has recently died of COVID-19 in a Louisiana nursing home or has suffered a COVID-related hospitalization because of nursing home negligence or abuse, you have a right to sue under Louisiana law. You should consult with experienced Louisiana nursing home neglect lawyers who will fight for your rights and provide advice and counsel.
Under Louisiana law, nursing homes have a duty to provide proper care for their residents. The standard of care is a high one — one that is based on current medical standards. Moreover, the standard of care specifically for nursing homes is higher since, generally speaking, residents are in a position of trust and reliance on the nursing home, residents tend to be elderly with underlying medical conditions and, thus, are more vulnerable and residents tend to share living and public spaces with other residents, staff, and visitors.
If nursing home employees and staff fail to provide proper care, the nursing home can be held liable under the civil law of negligence. Allowing residents to become infected with the coronavirus is an example of negligence. Nursing homes also have a duty to prevent their staff from engaging in intentional and/or reckless abuse such as physical or sexual assault. Moreover, nursing homes have an affirmative duty to protect residents from the negligence or intentional conduct of third parties like visitors and non-employee support staff.
If your loved one contracted COVID-19 in a nursing home, experienced personal injury lawyers will know the right questions to ask that can help prove neglect. In any contagion type case, one of the key facts to demonstrate is that the victim contracted the relevant virus or disease at the nursing home. In other words, it is important to exclude the possibility that the disease was contracted elsewhere. Typically, this is not difficult to prove in nursing home neglect cases since many nursing home residents do not have their own means of transportation and are confined to the home.
Another key set of facts that must be explored relate to whether the nursing home failed to take reasonable precautions against a known risk. At least since March 2020, COVID-19 infection has been a “known risk.” As such, nursing homes and other medical facilities were required to put into place reasonable measures to prevent exposure and spread of the virus. Examples of “reasonable measures” that should have been taken include the following:
- Testing for COVID-19
- Asking staff, employees and visitors about whether they have experienced COVID-19 symptoms
- Using body temperature testing
- Excluding staff/employees/visitors with symptoms from being at the nursing home
- Quarantining staff and employees who are returning from travel to high-risk areas or “hot-spots”
- Isolating and testing residents with symptoms
- Quarantining residents with positive test results
- Using proper sanitation protocols for staff and employees — such as frequent handwashing
- Using recommended protocols for personal protective gear — such as masks and gloves
- Using proper sanitation protocols for surfaces
- Using proper protocols for food service (if applicable)
- Ensuring HVAC systems are sanitized — recirculated air is a known vector of virus transmission
- Conducting regular updated COVID-19-related safety training
- Enforcing six-feet social distancing through instruction and reorganization of social spaces — such as removing seating and re-spacing seating areas
- And more
If the nursing home where your loved one contracted COVID-19 failed to undertake these sorts of safety measures, it is likely that the nursing was negligent and might be liable under Louisiana law.
Contact Experienced Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyers Today
For more information, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. Dying or being hospitalized because of COVID-19 is horrific. If a nursing home was at fault, you have a right to hold them responsible. We have a proven track record with many types of personal injury cases and have deep experience with cases of nursing home neglect and/or abuse. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also contact us 24/7 by using our “Contact Us” link. There are strict deadlines for when your case must be filed, so call today.