Last week, the Florida Health Care Association, an advocacy group for long-term healthcare providers, requested the state to protect nursing homes from lawsuits due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The family of a Washington state nursing home resident who died from the coronavirus filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the nursing home “lacked a clear plan of action” to deal with the virus.
On April 3, Illinois Governor Pritzker enacted The Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act which exempts health care workers and others from certain civil liability during a pending or actual disaster. According to Executive Order 2020-19, medical facilities including nursing homes that are providing COVID-19 health care services cannot be sued
“for any injury or death alleged to have been caused by any act or omission by the Health Care Facility, which injury or death occurred at a time when a Health Care Facility was engaged in the course of rendering assistance to the State by providing health care services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak”
until after the governor’s disaster declaration expires. The EO states that doctors, nurses, emergency medical service workers and health care volunteers are exempt from any civil liability if they are providing services to facilities dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
If a nursing home does not take the recommended steps to protect their residents from coronavirus, they may be guilty of nursing home negligence. Under Illinois law, residents who become injured or die from coronavirus have a legal right to bring a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home. If you suspect a loved one in a nursing home has been neglected or abused, you should act immediately to protect them:
• Determine if they should immediately be removed from the nursing home where they are living.
• Report the facility to the state of Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-252-4343.
• Contact an elder law attorney to protect the person’s rights, your rights and seek compensation for the abuse or neglect.
Do you have questions about nursing home negligence or elder law in Illinois? Our experienced elder law attorneys in Lombard Illinois understand applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect an elderly or disabled person. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at (630) 800-0112.