Florida Nursing Homes Ask Governor for Immunity During Pandemic
Nursing homes have been struck very hard by the coronavirus, but not as hard as their residents who tend to be particularly vulnerable to the worst symptoms. The trend has been that once an outbreak occurs in a nursing home, several of the residents end up falling ill with the virus. This has resulted in several nursing homes coming under fire by local governments. In some cases, lawsuits have been filed by grieving family members.
Now, Florida nursing homes are begging the governor to place a moratorium on any lawsuits related to the coronavirus against them.
Some states have already begun passing legislation to protect health care facilities from COVID-19-related lawsuits. This is especially true in areas hit the hardest by the virus like New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. However, none of this legislation is directly related to protecting nursing homes specifically, which would be unprecedented and likely violate the state’s constitution. Below, we’ll discuss why.
Immunity for Nursing Homes Targets a Demographic
The problem that the governor or the nursing homes will have in getting legislation like this passed is that nursing homes target a protected demographic. For instance, let’s say that there was a hospital that only serviced people who were black or a health clinic (like a gynecologist) that only provides health services to women. The state would essentially be saying that these facilities that only service African Americans or women are immune to any lawsuits while everyone else can still file a lawsuit. This is a violation of the equal protection clause of both the U.S. and the Florida Constitutions.
So no, it wouldn’t make sense for the government to pass a law saying that elderly Americans who require twenty-four-hour nursing are the only Americans who cannot file a lawsuit. In fact, it would be discriminatory.
Majority of Nursing Homes Cited for Failing to Control Infection
Just around 75% of all nursing homes in the United States were cited for failing to properly control infection. Of course, this is a problem all of the time but during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s become much more obvious that residents are dying because nursing homes are failing to meet very basic state-mandated requirements. Of course, families can file lawsuits against these nursing homes, but only at great cost. Their loved one would either need to experience a worsening of their symptoms, but more likely, death for these families to pursue a lawsuit against a nursing home.
Filing a lawsuit is the most fundamental way that a family can hold a negligent nursing home accountable. Now, the nursing homes are begging their government to protect them from all lawsuits during the pandemic when they could simply be implementing initiatives that are required by the government anyway.
Talk to a Jacksonville Nursing Home Attorney
If your loved one is injured in a Florida nursing home, you are still entitled to file a lawsuit against the nursing home. Call the Jacksonville personal injury lawyers at Gillette Law today to schedule a free consultation and we will begin the investigation of your case.