In extraordinary circumstances such as a pandemic, situations potentially incurring liability are broad and far-reaching thanks to coronavirus being a case of first impression in many ways.
As coronavirus (and the illness known as Covid-19) has forced the world to confront an evolving pandemic, a host of new issues have arisen. Scientists are learning about the virus in real time and disseminating information to the public and governments on how to prevent its spread while they develop a vaccine and hopefully a cure. Though various entities can’t control when they receive this information, they can control when and how they respond to it. These responses and other concerns will largely shape liability issues in the field of tort law that arise as people contract the virus and are injured as it takes its course.
Premises Liability Claims by Individuals
Owners, managers, and landlords of buildings have a legal duty to take reasonable measures to keep visitors safe from hazards – this was one consideration that led the NBA and NCAA to cancel the remainder of their seasons upon realizing a player had contracted the virus. Businesses such as hotels, daycares, nursing homes, and offices may face claims they didn’t take reasonable measures to ensure that known risks of coronavirus were warned about or removed, were negligent, and are liable for injuries to visitors exposed to the virus who suffered harm.
Personal Injury and Negligence Claims Against Employers
Employees of companies who did not take proper precautions to keep employees safe from the risk of coronavirus may also face lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims if employees are exposed on the job and injured when they contract the virus.
Products Liability Claims
It’s possible that individuals may be able to file products liability claims for defective design, manufacture, or marketing of products in use that led to coronavirus infection. Claims about defective air filtration systems and products as well as recirculation systems may become common against companies such as hospitals, airlines, and ventilator manufacturers.
Medical Malpractice Claims Against Healthcare Providers
Hospitals and healthcare workers have a duty to act reasonably to prevent harm. If they fail to do so, patients hospitalized for illnesses other than coronavirus, and potentially even their visitors, may sue hospitals and healthcare workers for damages that occurred due to an act or omission that resulted in the patient or visitors contracting coronavirus and suffering injury.
When businesses are the subject of these lawsuits, their insurers may also become involved due to their issuance of bodily injury under their insured’s liability insurance policy. Though most policies include broad exclusions attempting to limit coverage, in many cases it may be up to a judge to decide whether the exclusion applies in this case or whether the insurer must pay.
Speak to an Attorney Today
In extraordinary circumstances such as a pandemic, situations potentially incurring liability are broad and far-reaching thanks to coronavirus being a case of first impression in many ways. If you or a loved one has been injured by the coronavirus, consulting about your potential legal rights and remedies with an experienced personal injury law firm may be beneficial.