Can You Seek Damages for the Loss of a Loved One?
Residents in nursing homes and assisted-care facilities have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, with approximately 40% (about 100,000) of the deaths nationally in that demographic. Reports have surfaced of nursing homes operating in the first months of the pandemic with little or no regard for social distancing, mask etiquette, or other public health safety recommendations. If you have a loved one who contracted the virus and died while in a nursing home in New Jersey, and you can show that the nursing home did not take appropriate safety precautions, can you file a wrongful death lawsuit to hold them accountable? Probably not.
In August, the New Jersey legislature passed, and Governor Phil Murphy signed, a bill granting broad immunity to nursing homes for claims arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The law does not prevent legal action but makes success difficult by providing immunity where nursing homes can show they “acted in good faith.” Under the statute, such nursing homes are absolved of both criminal and civil liability.
Critics acknowledge that many nursing homes acted in good faith but were hampered by limited access to necessary equipment, including respirators, masks, and sanitizer. They contend, however, that many nursing homes simply didn’t want to take the time or incur the expense of enacting appropriate safety measures.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after the wrongful death of a loved one, 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 videoconference.
We handle all wrongful death claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.