Coronavirus From A Nursing Home In Las Vegas
What happens if my loved one contracts COVID-19 at a nursing home?
We trust nursing homes to provide care for our loved ones, but their responsibility is made even more important during these times of coronavirus, or COVID-19. Any senior care or assisted living facility has a legal obligation to protect their patients from harm while under their care. This can include preventing the spread of COVID-19. Failure to do so can be seen as a form of negligence or inadequate care, which is already one of the most common reasons for a nursing home lawsuit in Nevada. So if you or a loved one has contracted coronavirus while residing at a nursing home or similar facility, here’s what you need to know.
What Happens in Nursing Homes
In Nevada, nursing homes are already a hot spot for coronavirus cases, for a variety of reasons.
Many of us know that COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, can be contracted by any individual but those at most risk are our elderly loved ones. According to the CDC, the risk for coronavirus increases with age, and elderly patients 65 and older the most vulnerable. These elderly patients, who often live in these senior care or assisted living facilities, are the most likely to develop severe or even fatal complications from the virus.
It’s important to pay attention to any loved one in a senior care facility, but it is especially critical when they have a history of underlying disease. According to the CDC, these conditions can make COVID-19 cases even more severe:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Because nursing homes often care for both elderly patients and those with chronic diseases, it follows that many nursing homes in Las Vegas will already have a high number of high-risk patients in their population.
Problems Inside the Nursing Home
Inside a facility, residents often share certain spaces or equipment, and even when residents are restricted to their own private rooms, staff members must move from one room to another to attend to each patient. Caregivers can contract coronavirus outside of the facility and infect a patient at work, or a visiting family member may also transmit the virus even during a brief visit.
While nursing homes are legally required to maintain the proper procedures and standards for their patients, it takes just one or two negligent staff members for problems to occur. Some may fail to observe social distancing protocols.
Also, many assisted living facilities in Las Vegas are chronically understaffed, which can cause caregivers to skip or forget necessary procedures while they rush from one patient to another. Even when these caregivers are trained well, it takes just one forgotten glove or mask change for the virus to be transmitted — and to cause lethal or fatal harm to the patient.
Nursing homes are obligated to take steps to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and they can be held responsible for the pain, suffering, and various hospitalization costs that can occur as a result. This type of lawsuit is often called a neglect & abuse lawsuit or a nursing home lawsuit, and has been a valid lawsuit even before the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, one out of every four nursing homes has been cited for neglect or elder abuse, for which the nursing home is held financially liable. Any patient who contracts coronavirus while under the care of a nursing home may be eligible for compensation as well.
Some of the types of damages that can be covered include:
- hospitalization costs
- costs of medical treatment or surgery
- therapy for emotional or psychological suffering
- costs for rehabilitation
- cost of travel or lost wages
If you suspect that you or a family member has contracted coronavirus, it’s important to contact an expert immediately before discussing the situation with anyone, especially if they are affiliated with the facility involved. Any nursing home representative will be aiming to save the facility time and money by attempting to settle cases out of court, and they may not always provide the information needed for you to build your case.
Again, seek legal advice immediately.
Regardless of the situation, know that you have the right to consult with an attorney and to have your lawyer present when meeting with the assisted care facility or nursing home representatives.
The key here is that nursing homes are held responsible under the law for taking the steps necessary to protect their patients. We can help you determine if the assisted living facility neglected their duties and collect the evidence needed to show that the patient contracted COVID-19 as a direct result of the nursing home staff.
Ultimately, no one should be made to suffer while under the care of a nursing home, especially not during these times of COVID-19. Let us help you seek the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on healing and rebounding.
Can a nursing home be held liable for transmission of coronavirus in their facility?
Any victim of coronavirus infection in a Nevada nursing home is entitled to hire a private attorney in order to file a civil lawsuit against the facility. Compensation can be awarded if the resident’s rights have been found to have been violated, often due to negligence on the part of the nursing home’s management, staff, or caregivers. These cases can also lead to an investigation by an adult protective services agency, a civil cause or action, or a lawsuit to recover physical, emotional, and financial damages on behalf of the victim.
What should I do if I suspect that my loved one has contracted coronavirus from a Nevada nursing home?
The conditions in nursing homes can easily lead to the transmission of contagious diseases, including COVID-19. If there is any suspicion that your loved one may have contracted COVID-19 during their time at the senior care facility, seek legal counsel immediately. Contact an experienced Nevada nursing home attorney to explore your legal options and protect your rights, and to put an end to the negligence of the nursing home.
If we do not have a contract with the nursing home, can we still sue the home for improper care? Yes, nursing home residents who have suffered medical complications caused by negligence or improper practices in a Nevada senior care home can still sue the facility, regardless of whether they have a contract with the home at present. In the event of a wrongful death case in Nevada, the resident’s dependents can sue on their behalf.
Once we file a claim against the Nevada nursing home, how long does it take to settle?
It depends on the specific case, and it can take anywhere from several weeks to several years for injury victims to receive compensation and rightful justice under the law for their lawsuit. Nursing home cases are often complex and involve gathering extensive medical records, bills, and other records in order to prove that the facility or medical staff was negligent in their treatment of the patient. In the case of coronavirus claims this can take even longer due as certain states are attempting to protect nursing homes and similar facilities from liability related to the pandemic. It is critical to seek legal counsel immediately as Nevada currently does not protect nursing homes against liability.
If you or a loved one contracted coronavirus at a nursing home, schedule a free consultation with us. We are experienced nursing home lawyers in Las Vegas and can fight for your rightful compensation.