Hospitals, insurance companies, landlords, police agencies, EMS services, concert organizers, and others can be sued for negligence, breach of contract, premises liability, etc. While COVID-19 has created havoc within the healthcare system, it has also created havoc within the workplace and economy as a whole. For a significant number of individuals, they may have legal recourse for the financial damages and inconveniences they experienced.
Class Action Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents suffered disproportionately during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationwide, nearly 20% of all the individuals who have died as a result of the pandemic were residents of nursing home facilities. Many nursing homes were underequipped to protect residents from acquiring the virus, and many failed to implement adequate safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus through their facilities. This resulted in a dangerous situation where patients were left with little protection. It’s a situation that the last coronavirus outbreak should have prepared hospitals and nursing homes to address.
The majority of Illinois nursing home residents are elderly with weakened immune systems which made this demographic particularly vulnerable to the virus. Even so, many nursing homes were slow to act to protect these individuals. Moreover, many regulatory bodies failed to properly monitor nursing homes for implementing appropriate infection control procedures.
State closures of businesses and educational institutions means that many entities were left unable to fulfill contractual obligations. Some entities may have protection under the doctrine of force majeure based on terms within the contract. However, many concert venues, restaurants, and a plethora of commercial enterprises still had a duty to refund ticket fees and other funds collected for services that were not performed as a result of the pandemic.
Legal Protection from COVID-19 Liability
Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and many other states have initiated emergency immunity measures to shield healthcare facilities and nursing homes from COVID-19 liability. These protections grant immunity for injuries, wrongful deaths, treatment decisions, and in some instances, property damage. However, these protections do not shield these entities from acts of gross negligence or willful misconduct.
This means that it is still possible to pursue lawsuits against grossly negligent parties for violating federal guidelines designed to screen workers and visitors to a facility. It is also possible to pursue claims against entities that failed to provide adequate staffing to care for patients, and to file claims for failure to inform residents and loved ones of an outbreak within a facility.