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Covid 19 & Wrongful Death

On April 9, 2020 the Louisiana Department of Health reported there were 702 deaths reported due to COVID-19 cases. This number is terrifying, especially when you consider this number is likely to continue to increase since the number lags the number of reported cases in nearly every case. This report also shows there are still more than 400 people on ventilators in Louisiana hospitals due to the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, some studies show many who are put on a ventilator as part of their treatment will never be able to breathe without the equipment, and others will simply not live. Remember, these deaths mean a family has lost a loved one. In these cases, the Law Office of John W Redmann, LLC may be able to help.

 

How Negligence Plays a Role With COVID-19

On March 22nd, Governor John Bel Edwards asked residents of Louisiana to stay at home in order to stop the spread of coronavirus in order to “flatten the curve”. This order however did not apply to all of the more than 4 million residents of Louisiana, there were several “carve outs” for those who were deemed “essential employees”.

In practical terms, during events like hurricanes, essential employees are often limited to certain government workers including public safety workers, medical personnel, and others who may be so classified by a state to maintain the safety of the citizens of the state. However, during this pandemic, essential employees include:

  • Workers at grocery stores and pharmacies
  • Workers at retail establishments
  • Transit workers
  • Certain construction workers
  • Bank employees
  • Public work employees

Unfortunately, with fewer than .02 percent of the population of Louisiana having been screened for COVID-19, it is impossible to determine who may be carrying the virus, or who may be asymptomatic and have the virus. If employers are not offering reasonable protections to employees, the employee could become ill with the virus, and in some instances, they could lose their lives.

COVID19 Spread and Transmission

There are two especially vulnerable populations when it comes to COVID-19 transmission. Keep in mind, this virus is highly transmissible and thrives in close quarters. This means some families who have loved ones in nursing facilities or who are incarcerated may also lose loved ones. In some cases, these deaths may have been preventable had the staff members followed proper reporting protocols or sought treatment early.

Employers who have failed to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for employees including proper sanitizing procedures, ensuring physical distancing is being followed in the workplace, and when necessary, sending employees home who are displaying symptoms. Additionally, employees who have previously displayed symptoms should have followed specific isolation guidelines and remained out of work.

Whether your loved on contracted COVID-19 in an institution, or in the workplace, if they lost their life, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful Death Claims For COVID-19

When you lose a loved one who was in a nursing home, it is never easy. When you believe the nursing home neglected to care for a loved one during a pandemic, the loss is even more painful. Because of the number of patients in a nursing facility and their dependency on the nursing staff, an outbreak can cause immeasurable harm. Every nursing home should have in place proper sanitizing procedures, health guidelines which employees of the facility adhere to, particularly during this difficult time, and a plan to deal with a resident who has symptoms of COVID-19 or any virus for that matter. When a nursing home fails to take these basic precautions, particularly during this time, they can be held liable for their actions through filing a medical malpractice wrongful death claim.

For families of employees who lost their lives, whether they worked in a medical facility, the prison system, or a retail outlet or any other employee who was deemed “essential” the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) rules apply. OSHA states “Each employer — shall furnish to each of his employees’ employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;”. When an employer fails their employees resulting in their death due to the coronavirus, you may have the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Louisiana?

Under 2009 Louisiana Civil Code: CC 2315.2, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by the spouse, children or other living relative of a decedent. At the Law Office of John W Redmann, LLC, we fully understand money will not make up for the loss you have suffered. Losing a loved one is never easy — when you know that loss was avoidable, it is even worse. What we can do however is make sure you are not suffering the financial burden associated with such a loss.

Wrongful death lawsuits may help you recover the following:

  • Medical treatment your loved one received prior to their death
  • Costs associated with funeral and burial expenses
  • The loss of services decedent provided to the household
  • Wages and benefits lost when decedent passed
  • Pain and suffering of your loved one
  • Loss of companionship suffered by your family
  • Loss of emotional support suffered by your family

There are no two cases which are the same and that is why it is important you speak with an attorney as soon after the death of your loved one as possible. Because Louisiana has a limited statute of limitations, it is imperative you take action quickly. Your claim will have to be thoroughly reviewed by an attorney, a case will have to be built to show there was negligence and a plan will have to be developed for presenting your wrongful death case.

If you lost a loved one to the novel coronavirus and you believe that loss could have been prevented if certain actions were taken, contact the Law Office of John W Redmann, LLC at 504-500-5000 and schedule a virtual consultation to have your case reviewed. We can discuss your options and help you determine the best way to move forward.