Tragically, thousands of nursing home residents in New York were reported to have suffered fatality due to a facility’s failure to follow proper protocol during COVID-19 — and until recently, a law was in place shielding nursing homes from liability for their negligence. However, on April 6, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed a bill repealing Article 30-D of the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act, revoking the immunity protections granted to nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Act was initially passed at the beginning of COVID-19 to shield the facilities from civil lawsuits or criminal charges arising from any harm nursing home residents suffered in connection with healthcare services provided during the outbreak. Critically, just months after its passage, legislators began to scrutinize the law, arguing that its scope should be narrowed and immunity should be limited.
Earlier this year, the New York Attorney General conducted an investigation that revealed COVID-19 related deaths in New York nursing homes were underreported by as much as 50%. According to the preliminary findings, a widespread lack of compliance with infection control protocols during the pandemic placed residents at an increased risk of harm. The report also indicated that facilities with low staffing ratings relative to the number of residents had higher fatality rates.
Following the exposure concerning the handling of the pandemic within New York nursing homes, the legislature began pushing forward a number of bills aimed at enhancing health and safety in the facilities in March 2021. Importantly, one of these measures was the legislation that ultimately reversed the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act.
What Does the Repeal Mean for Nursing Home Residents and their Families?
As a result of the repeal, nursing homes can no longer avoid accountability for any injury or fatality caused by the facility’s negligence in connection with a resident’s COVID-19 treatment. Families will now be able to take legal action to hold a nursing home responsible for harm suffered by a loved one arising from the facility’s carelessness or recklessness in connection with medical services during the pandemic.
By filing a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home, families may be entitled to compensation for their economic damages, as well as the pain and suffering their loved one experienced prior to their passing. In some instances, a family may also be eligible to recover punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant in a civil action — and serve as a deterrent for future wrongdoing.
Contact an Experienced New York Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you trust that the facility will provide them with high-quality care — and keep them safe from harm. Unfortunately, not every nursing home takes proper care of its residents or acts in their best interests. If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected, abused, or mistreated at a nursing home, it’s essential to contact a nursing home negligence attorney. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. provides dedicated representation to families of nursing home neglect and abuse victims and strives to ensure that they obtain justice.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, and on Long Island in Nassau County and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a free consultation.