COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has drastically affected the lives of thousands of people. The virus is most dangerous for vulnerable populations who are already immunocompromised – especially the elderly. Senior citizens with existing health conditions, such as those often living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, are most at risk of dying from COVID-19.
If you lost a loved one in a nursing home in Kansas City due to COVID-19, speak to a wrongful death lawyer about a potential lawsuit. Not all nursing homes are reacting appropriately to the pandemic. Many are negligently failing to keep their residents reasonably safe. The nursing home where your loved one passed away may owe your family compensation for its negligence.
COVID-19 and Nursing Home Negligence
The law does not expect nursing homes to prevent 100% of COVID-19 cases and/or deaths. It does, however, impose duties of care on nursing homes and their staff members to ensure the reasonable safety of their residents. Nursing homes must take proactive steps to reduce the risk of the coronavirus infiltrating the facility and spreading. All nursing homes have a legal responsibility to implement precautions and protect their residents.
- Prohibit or limit nursing home visitors
- Actively check anyone coming into the facility for virus symptoms
- Keep an adequate number of employees on staff
- Obtain COVID-19 testing kits for residents
- Cancel all group events and gatherings
- Set up sanitation stations to increase overall hygiene
- Encourage social distancing
- Quickly recognize and respond to COVID-19 cases
Nursing homes should also train their staff members on how to detect the signs of coronavirus. If a nursing home resident does show symptoms, staff members should react immediately and appropriately to isolate the resident and obtain him or her emergency medical care. While many nursing homes are doing their best to ensure the safety of their residents during the pandemic, others are negligently letting resident care slip during this crucial time.
Nursing Homes Seeking Immunity From COVID-19 Death Liability
For every 10 COVID-19 related deaths, 8 have been adults 65 years old and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of mid-May 2020, almost 90,000 people in the US have lost their lives to the coronavirus. Using the CDC’s estimation, around 72,000 older adults have died from COVID-19. Nursing homes may have the power to prevent new cases if they take the proper precautions. Unfortunately, not every nursing home is responding correctly.
Recently, nursing homes across the US have started seeking immunity from civil liability for COVID-19 related deaths on their premises. Nursing home representatives say facilities are doing their best in an unprecedented time and should not have to pay for virus-related fatalities. Advocates for nursing home resident rights and safety, however, say that granting blanket immunity would endanger residents’ lives and allow negligent nursing homes to fly under the radar. Neither Kansas nor Missouri has passed a blanket immunity law for nursing homes related to COVID-19 as of yet.
How Can an Attorney Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case?
If family members can bring wrongful death claims against nursing homes for preventable COVID-19 related resident deaths, they or their attorneys will have to prove the nursing home’s fault for the fatality. The burden of proof during a wrongful death suit rests with the plaintiff’s side of the case. The plaintiff’s attorney will have to establish that the nursing home violated a duty of care owed to the resident and that this caused the victim’s death. In other words, the decedent would reasonably still be alive were it not for the negligence of the nursing home.
Coronavirus has led to many questions and concerns regarding virus-related illness and death liability. Nursing homes are especially under scrutiny due to the vulnerability of their residents and the high number of cases. Work with a wrongful death lawyer for your COVID-19 related nursing home negligence or abuse claim for the best odds of successfully proving negligence and obtaining fair compensation in Kansas City.
Contact a Kansas City Wrongful Death Attorney
If you believe that your loved one’s death resulted from a nursing home’s negligible, our attorneys are here to help. During this quickly evolving and historic phase, our Kansas City wrongful death attorneys are happy to consult with clients regarding questions relating to these matters. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at (816) 268-1960 or reach out to us through our free online contact form.