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PLEASE NOTE: In order to best serve our clients, our office will remain open for business. To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients and prospective clients the ability to meet with us in person, via telephone or through video conferencing.

Caring for aging loved ones often isn’t something you can do alone. You turned to a specialized facility so they could get the help they need. But when things take a turn for the worse, new rules could make it harder than ever to hold anyone accountable.

Connecticut has expanded immunities for hospitals and nursing homes across the state. The exemption isn’t a catch-all, but you’ll have to make sure you can identify where the care fell outside the acceptable bounds.

Temporary protections

The new rules remove some liability for certain care facilities acting in emergency situations. This is similar to the current Good Samaritan Laws in Connecticut. The protections laid out there typically cover professionals operating outside their normal work environment, like doctors or nurses, and people versed in first aid, like teachers or firefighters.

The nuance for the new rules is that they likely apply to the usual scope of work, but those duties are taking place amidst an ongoing health emergency. Even under these special circumstances, the same limits to immunity likely apply. It doesn’t cover criminal acts, fraud or malice for starters. But there are also limits to shielding people from negligence:

  • Ordinary: This is generally the sole type of negligence that has protection under the law. It can apply when someone fails to take a level of care that most reasonable people would find acceptable.
  • Gross: The next increment is the first level that might give you a path for recourse. It comes into play when someone really isn’t paying attention to what they’re doing while offering help.
  • Willful or wanton: Far beyond inattentiveness, these acts are done while ignoring blatantly apparent circumstances. It includes a person’s actions that will likely cause harm to their patient beyond the situation.

Understanding when the nursing home has crossed the line isn’t easy, and holding them accountable is even more difficult with immunities on the table. Make sure you know when the law says they failed in caring for your loved one, and you may be able to see your way forward.