The Legal Duties of Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility Operators
The federal government recently reported that it believes about one of every four nursing homes in America—that’s more than 15,000 facilities—has been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Medical rights advocates say that nearly 50% of all COVID-19 related deaths have been nursing home residents. Federal officials say that, even though nursing homes are required to report all suspected instances of infectious disease to state and local regulators, many have not.
When Can a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility Be Legally Responsible for the Consequences of Infectious Disease?
When your loved one goes into a nursing home or assisted living facility, you expect that they’ll get good care and proper attention. When that doesn’t happen, and there’s illness, injury, or death, the available legal claims are typically based on negligence. To prove a claim of negligence, you must show that the nursing home failed to meet the proper standard of care. You also must show that the failure to meet that standard caused injury, illness, or death.
The Standard of Care in a Nursing Home Neglect Case
In a nursing home neglect claim, as in all legal actions based on negligence, you must prove to the jury that the defendant (at-fault person or entity) failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. There is no codified law that identifies the specific actions required; rather, juries determine, on a case-by-case basis, what is reasonable. A jury does not, however, have the latitude to establish its own standard of care but must follow the legal concept of stare decisis (“let the decision stand”), which requires a jury to give considerable weight to prior court rulings on similar issues.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
For a free initial consultation to learn about your rights in a claim involving nursing home neglect or abuse, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton. Currently, all our client communications are by phone, text message, or online videoconference.
We handle all nursing home neglect claims on a contingency basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.