Coronavirus (COVID-19): Can You Sue a Florida Nursing Home for Wrongful Death?
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage Florida, residents of nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19. Florida has become a hotspot for the coronavirus outbreak, leaving many people concerned about the health of their parents and grandparents living in nursing homes.
The website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reads that older adults “might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” Florida has the second-largest senior population in the state, surpassed only by California. In 2018, there were over 4.35 million of elderly individuals in the Sunshine State.
The Spread of the COVID-19 Infection in Florida’s Nursing Homes
Since the elderly are more vulnerable to coronavirus than other age groups, nursing homes and assisted living facilities must take extra precautions to protect their residents. In the past few weeks, COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in multiple nursing homes throughout the country.
At least seven residents died from COVID-19 in the Atria Willow Wood assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale. Overall, the facility’s 20 residents and one staff member have been infected, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
After the outbreak, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the facility’s residents might have been exposed to coronavirus because sick employees were coming and going without appropriate screening. However, the Atria Willow Wood’s management denies the allegations.
Besides, seven residents of a Miami nursing home were hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus, according to the Miami Herald. In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout their facilities, Florida’s nursing homes are:
- Requiring workers to wear face masks and other personal protective equipment;
- Confining residents to their rooms;
- Monitoring residents for COVID-19 symptoms (fever and coughs); and
- Checking temperatures twice a day.
Also, Gov. DeSantis ordered all nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the state to ban visitors through April. Previously, visitors were screened at nursing homes. Failure to take all reasonable precautions to protect residents from COVID-19 may constitute nursing home neglect.
Suing a Nursing Home for Coronavirus-Related Wrongful Death
Despite the state-ordered precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease in nursing homes, the virus continues to infiltrate facilities and kill their residents at an alarming rate. If your loved one died after contacting COVID-19 in a nursing home, you might have grounds to file a wrongful death claim.
Previously, we talked about the possibility of suing a nursing home for coronavirus infections at the facility. Nursing homes must follow specific protocols and take reasonable measures to keep their residents out of harm’s way.
If you can prove that the facility’s negligence or carelessness contributed to your loved one’s COVID-19 exposure and subsequent death from coronavirus, your wrongful death claim against the nursing home is likely to succeed.
Call a Lakeland wrongful death attorney to investigate your case and gather evidence against the nursing home. While the stay-at-home order may cause delays in your case, you should bring the negligent facility to justice. Contact The Turnbull Firm to receive a case evaluation. Call at 407-612-6464 or 863-324-3500.