Personal Injury Cases from COVID-19
COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of our daily lives, from the non-availability of products to economic crises to social distancing and isolation. The pandemic has also altered the face of personal injury in America.
Negligence-based claims have not typically arisen from infectious diseases in the past. With the spread of the coronavirus, however, more injured people are suing businesses and governmental entities based on negligence in preventing COVID-19 exposure.
Who May Be Liable for COVID-19 Exposure?
Various businesses and facilities may face liability for coronavirus infections. Examples include:
- Healthcare providers: The governor of New York signed an executive order into effect on March 24, 2020. The order was designed to limit the medical malpractice liability healthcare workers face in treating COVID-19 patients. Pursuant to the order, legal action against medical providers in such circumstances can only be maintained if the injured party can establish gross negligence.
- Nursing homes: Older adults are particularly vulnerable to severe or life-threatening effects of COVID-19, and the virus has spread rapidly in some nursing homes. The facility might be liable for resident infections if the staff failed to take adequate safety measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Nursing home negligence may involve failure to quarantine residents and staff who become ill or the failure to clean and disinfect areas to help keep residents safe. As with other healthcare providers, nursing homes may be shielded from liability for coronavirus-related harm that stems from ordinary negligence, but not from gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
- Cruise ships: Some people have become infected with COVID-19 while traveling on cruise ships. If the cruise ship company failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, passengers who became ill as a result may have valid personal injury claims. Negligence in this case, may involve failing to identify and isolate infected passengers, and consequently, exposing other passengers to infection.
- Employers: A worker who becomes infected with COVID-19 on the job is not likely to have a personal injury claim for damages. Police officers, firefighters, and healthcare workers may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they contacted the virus through work-related exposure.
Negligence and Personal Injury Claims for COVID-19
A common negligence theory may apply in many cases of coronavirus exposure. Facilities and businesses have a responsibility to not allow employees who are ill to remain at work, to follow standard sanitizing protocols, and to maintain the recommended six-foot distance between individuals. If they fail to do so, they may face liability for damages caused by COVID-19 exposure and infection.
If you or your loved one has become seriously ill with COVID-19, and you believe someone else’s negligence caused the exposure, contact The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, PLLC. Our track record of obtaining the highest personal injury awards in New York speaks for itself.
Our attorneys continue working remotely while the “shelter-in-place” order remains in effect. You can meet with us from the safety of your own home in a consultation via telephone or computer.