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Appeals Court Rules Against Nursing Homes in COVID-19 Neglect Case

A Birmingham, AL nursing home neglect attorney provides details

Families of nursing home residents and staff members seeking to hold nursing homes accountable for COVID-19-related illnesses or deaths can take legal action in cases involving nursing home neglect, thanks to a recent court ruling.

Elderly person with cane

An appeals court recently ruled that two nursing home neglect and wrongful death lawsuits filed in response to the deaths of four nursing home residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic can continue to work their way through the state court system, according to Reuters. The families filed the lawsuits because they claim the nursing homes did not take the necessary precautions to protect residents and staff members from the coronavirus.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia issued the recent court ruling. The court denied a request from two nursing homes to have the wrongful death lawsuits against them dismissed in state court on the grounds that such cases should be heard in federal court. The two nursing homes unsuccessfully cited the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which protects businesses from being sued due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nursing home deaths due to COVID-19

Between March 2020 and June 2021, more than 184,000 people who live or work in nursing homes nationwide died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The New York Times. Such figures represent 31 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States during that period.

Since then, COVID-19 deaths and infections have remained a serious problem in nursing homes nationwide. In July and August of this year, fatalities due to the COVID-19 nationwide rose “at a faster rate in nursing homes than among all others in the community,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

KFF also reported that “nursing homes across the US reported nearly 1,800 COVID-19 deaths among residents and staff in August 2021, the highest number of COVID-19 deaths reported in a single month since February 2021.”

How do I know if I have a COVID-19 nursing home neglect case?

If you work at a nursing home or a family member lives in one, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation if you or a family member became sick or died due to COVID-19. Many COVID-19 nursing home deaths and illnesses occur due to nursing home neglect. However, building a successful legal case can be challenging. That’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible.

Our Birmingham, AL nursing neglect attorneys at Shuttlesworth Law Firm LLC handle such cases throughout Alabama. As a result, we know what constitutes nursing home neglect and how to find the necessary evidence to build a successful legal case.

Nursing home neglect that results in the death or illness of a resident or staff member due to COVID-19 can take many different forms. Examples might include:

  • The nursing home failed to vaccinate employees and residents.
  • The nursing home did not report a COVID-19 outbreak to local, state, and federal public health officials.
  • After a COVID-19 case was discovered in the nursing home, the facility did not isolate infected people and anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.
  • The nursing home did not follow other standard safety health protocols designed to protect the health and well-being of nursing home residents and staff members.
  • The nursing home was understaffed and failed to provide the minimum standard of care to residents.

These are just some of the reasons why nursing homes may be held liable (legally responsible) for a death or illness due to COVID-19. Often, nursing homes (and their insurance providers) deny such accusations. Instead, they hire teams of attorneys to defend their actions and do everything they can to avoid responsibility.

Don’t simply take the nursing home’s word for it. Put the power of our experienced legal team to work for you. We know how to investigate nursing homes, analyze medical records, and build compelling cases. If necessary, we also consult with medical experts for more detailed analysis and insights.

Demand the justice you deserve. Contact our Birmingham law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with an Alabama nursing home neglect attorney focused on what matters most – your best interests. We handle legal cases throughout the state.

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