COVID-19 has taken the world by surprise and left healthcare professionals to find the best possible means of limiting exposure and treating the effects of the deadly virus.  Nursing homes in the United States have taken a significant hit from the sickness with close to 97,000 residents and staff members testing positive for the virus with over 16,000 resident and staff deaths occurring. Many states are entertaining legislation that will give immunity for negative COVID-19  treatment outcomes and there have been 965 reported cases at Mississippi long term facilities with 125 deaths as of this week.  The inconsistency in reporting cases at nursing homes and the lack of transparency has led some families to entertain legal action.

Under normal conditions, federal and state laws have been in place to protect nursing home residents’ basic rights and ensure they are free from abuse and neglect in their living situation. Common forms of abuse include “unintentional abuse” and may be relevant to wrongful death from COVID-19 treatments in Mississippi nursing homes. Contact an experienced attorney to see if you may take legal action for nursing home abuse during the pandemic.

Standards of care enforced.

Nursing homes must follow Federal Regulations which set forth industry’s standard of care in order to receive Medicare payments. Regulation 42 CFR sec. 483.25 (h) provides that a facility ensures a resident’s environment remains as free of hazards as possible and that ample supervision is provided, along with a provision of providing adequate medical treatment in line with the current medical standard of care.

Nursing home abuse claims include acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions or place residents in danger and deviations from NHRA could place a resident at risk and may be considered acts of unintentional negligence.

Compensation.

If unintentional neglect due to methods of treating COVID-19 led to a wrongful death of a loved one, a family may be compensated if they can prove that negligence was involved.  Elements that will determine the value in a case of nursing home abuse include economic damages to pay expenses, financial loss and funeral costs; and non-economic damages to compensate families for pain and suffering.  In some cases, punitive damages may be imposed for intentional or careless behavior and to discourage others from similar action.

Proving liability.

A legal professional who specializes in nursing home laws may be able to assist in piecing information together to prove negligent acts of staff and administration caring for Mississippi nursing home residents.

Wrongful death.

If a nursing home resident died of COVID-19 complications, a degree of  responsibility may fall onto the facility, but each case will have to be reviewed independently. Wrongful death legal actions arise out of grave injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another. An experienced attorney can navigate the way the laws are interpreted for compensation to Mississippi families.

Sources.

Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987

https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420.html#Mississippi

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