The battle against COVID-19 in Canada is happening on two very different fronts. Among the general public, the disease is in decline; private citizens have largely adhered to governments’ physical distancing requests and, as a result, economies are gradually beginning to reopen. The second front, in the country’s nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care facilities, remains in crisis. In Ontario, personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers are spearheading lawsuits against long-term care operators as the death toll in these facilities surges past 1,400.

On May 19, the Province of Ontario announced that it will launch an independent commission in September to investigate the long-term care system’s response to COVID-19. More than 275 facilities have thus far recorded outbreaks.

A consensus is forming among stakeholders that the system’s response has been woefully insufficient. Insurers who provide liability coverage to long-term care facilities, for example, are bracing for large losses.

“There are a lot of exposures in the business,” said Stephen Stewart, CEO of Stewart Speciality Risk Underwriting Ltd., in an interview with Canadian Underwriter. “If it’s not well-managed, then those exposures tend to increase. You’ve got patient-to-patient exposures and staff-to-patient exposures, and those things all need to be managed.”

“If you believe the headlines – the media stories that we see – there appears to be negligence in some of these cases,” Stewart added. “So they would certainly attract liability and larger claims and usually when that happens, we see a reaction and tightening of rates.”

The personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers at Neinstein believe that negligence has occurred in at least one facility: Chartwell Aurora Long-Term Care Residence in Aurora, Ontario. Earlier this month, our firm filed a class-action lawsuit at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against this facility.

“Resident who tested positive were not removed from the shared accommodations and in many cases residents were permitted to use other areas of the home and other facilities despite testing positive,” Neinstein’s Rose Leto told the CBC. “These families trusted these long-term care facilities to care for their loves ones, and I think their trust is broken.”

Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers is continuing to accept calls and information about wrongdoing at Ontario long-term care facilities. If you or a member of your family has been injured in a nursing home, retirement home, or similar facility, contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers will review your case and provide guidance during the legal process.

 

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Greg Neinstein