You probably heard all about the scandal when former New York State Governor Cuomo tried to cover up the number of residents who died in nursing homes in 2020. The scandal complicates legal action taken against those nursing homes. Who was at fault? Was it the NYS government? Was it the people in charge of those facilities? Or was it no one at all? Sometimes Acts of God happen — and you can’t sue God.
Earlier this year, the New York State Senate reversed an earlier law that provided legal protections — and in some cases immunity — to nursing homes and hospitals for alleged negligence concerning COVID-19 in 2020 and beyond. Interestingly, the recent vote was unanimous. What does it mean for those nursing homes and hospitals? Culpability, we hope!
Not surprisingly, new lawsuits have arisen since the old legislation was repealed. Most of these lawsuits don’t allege traditional negligence — that action or inaction caused illness or death. Instead, they allege silence — which is at least as bad.
One senior citizen was invited into a Long Island nursing home to recover from surgery. She died there after her daughter Rivera-Zayas was assured there was no coronavirus spread.
“How is it possible that my mother died of COVID-19? She was admitted to the nursing home for rehabilitation. They lied to us, because they didn’t tell us there was COVID-19 in the nursing home.”
Cases like these shed light on liability — which might just belong to the government of NYS and the nursing homes where coronavirus spread like wildfire. First, the public had the right to know. And second, plenty of folks may have refrained from placing loved ones in these care facilities had they known how big a problem the virus actually was. Thousands of people were dying in nursing homes. Is that where you would want your elderly family members to be?
We expect many lawsuits in the future as cases like the aforementioned are put in the spotlight.