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Nursing Homes No Longer Protected by Immunity from COVID-19 Claims

Though it has been more than two years since the first signs of the coronavirus were spotted in New York, much confusion still remains about what happened and the legal options for families who lost loved ones in nursing homes to COVID. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state granted legal immunity to healthcare facilities and nursing homes for claims related to the coronavirus. Some opposed this measure from the start, while others who understood why it was enacted during the chaotic early days of the pandemic agreed that it should be revoked. Now, the immunity has been revoked and lawsuits can be filed against negligent providers.

Passed in 2021, the Treatment Protection Act reversed the protection against COVID-19 lawsuits included in the previous year’s budget. It also required facilities to make their residents aware of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which provides information regarding the rights of people served by nursing homes and other assisted care facilities. At the time of the bill’s passage, more than 13,000 nursing home residents suffered a coronavirus-related death.

Though New Yorkers now have the right to sue for COVID-related negligence, obtaining a financial recovery still might be a challenge. Unlike typical medical malpractice claims, there was no set course of treatment for the coronavirus, and even government medical authorities frequently changed their guidance on best practices. If you believe that someone you love suffered unnecessarily, you should consult with an attorney who understands what type of actions or inactions might support a liability claim. The fact that someone died of COVID-19 in a care facility is not enough to win a verdict; you must show that the defendant did not take reasonable precautions given what was known at the time.

With a strong background in New York nursing home negligence cases, Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP is prepared to take on facilities who failed to uphold their legal responsibilities. We handle cases throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, and understand how to get to the truth even when nursing homes and their employees try to cover up what happened. Whether someone was infected by COVID-19 or harmed in some other way, our firm is committed to achieving justice for Long Island nursing home victims and their families.