North Carolina Provides Civil Immunity to Hospitals and Nursing Homes, But What Does it Mean?

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question “What constitutes nursing home negligence?”


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a law that protects doctors and hospitals from civil liability during the COVID-19 pandemic. The provision to give healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, immunity from lawsuits was part of a $1.6 billion relief package to combat the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

old-people-Nursing-home-Charlotte-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-209x300The liability protections, which are retroactive to March 10, apply to healthcare providers, doctors, nurses, nursing homes, and other individuals and facilities that provided good-faith treatment that is directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic, according to Law360.

Previously, we discussed whether you can sue your provider for medical malpractice for postponing your surgery amid the pandemic.


Who is Immune from Civil Liability Now?

Covered facilities, including nursing homes, cannot be sued for patient injuries or wrongful deaths that occurred during North Carolina’s COVID-19 public health emergency. However, the legal protections under the state law, which was enacted on May 4, are not applicable in cases involving gross negligence, intentional infliction of harm, and reckless misconduct.

Healthcare professionals and facilities are immune from civil lawsuits if two requirements are met:

  • The provider or facility’s services were directly or indirectly impacted by decisions or activities in response to the coronavirus pandemic; and
  • The provider or facility provided services in good faith.

Interestingly, the law clarified that staffing shortage at healthcare facilities and nursing homes does not qualify as “gross negligence,” even though understaffing was typically considered nursing home neglect before the pandemic.

The law also includes a standing order providing that pharmacists administering any vaccine approved by federal health authorities will be given civil and criminal immunity. Also, the law has a severability clause that ensures that portions of the law would remain legally valid even if courts rule that certain other portions are unconstitutional or otherwise unlawful.


Personal Injury Lawsuit Against NC Nursing Home During the Pandemic

Two weeks before Gov. Cooper signed a law providing immunity to healthcare providers, WBTV reported that the family of a nursing home resident in Rowan County filed a lawsuit against the facility.

Previously, we talked about nursing home neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The personal injury lawsuit was filed against The Citadel-Salisbury alleging that an elderly woman suffered severe complications from COVID-19 due to alleged negligence and reckless conduct on the part of the facility’s management and staff.

The facility has had at least 102 positive cases of coronavirus among residents and staff members. The plaintiffs accuse The Citadel-Salisbury of failing to track coronavirus as it spread within the facility and failing to protect the elderly woman and other residents from the virus.

The family members allege that they were unable to reach staff members by phone and had no idea what was going on inside the facility. The facility’s staff, meanwhile, complained that they were not given sufficient protection from the disease.

A recent report by The Center Square shows that long-term care facilities and nursing homes account for 61% of coronavirus-related deaths in North Carolina. If you or your loved one were harmed due to gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm while receiving medical treatment or staying at a nursing home, consult with our personal injury attorneys. You may still be able to sue the facility or staff members for causing harm during the pandemic. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, for a consultation. Call at (704) 370-2828 to receive a consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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