Personal Injury cases are sure to explode in the wake of COVID-19.
Lawsuits are already being filed against cruise ships (Princess Cruise Lines was sued before a passenger had even disembarked the Grand Princess which was evacuated in California) for failing to adequately protect passengers and “chose to place profits over the safety of its passengers, crew and the public”.
The Florida couple bringing the suit said “passengers were asked to fill out a piece of paper confirming they were not sick, prior to boarding— but weren’t further questioned or screened, even though two previous passengers were infected” with COVID-19. The couple also claimed no one on board was told of possible exposure according to CNN (said the NY Post).
Nursing homes, hospitals, retirement communities, and possibly more may be the subject of lawsuits brought by sickened occupants claiming that companies and owners failed to take proper precautions and safety measures to protect their patients and patrons.
Will these lawsuits succeed? Do you have a cause of action?
- We will need to be able to prove that the defendant caused you to contract the virus. Because a virus can be picked up almost anywhere and from anyone, these COVID-19 claims will be extremely hard to prove. The exception would be if we could prove that the source of the virus was at the defendant’s location and reasonable measures were not taken or stated policies ignored to keep you safe. Examples would be if the health care workers treating you did not wear protective gear, quarantine is broken, or the facility fails to provide you the medical attention needed.
- Successful COVID-19 claims will usually involve life changing injuries or death. To experience only flu-like symptoms with full recovery would not warrant the bringing of a claim.
- Nursing homes in particular may be targets for lawsuits if they did not take extra precautions to prevent the spread of the disease within the facility. Again, hard and direct proof will be required. For example, the facility may be liable if they knew a staff member was sick and still allowed him or her to come to work.
If you or a member of your family has been sickened with COVID-19 and you have questions about whether you can seek damages, contact Steven Barrett who heads our Personal Injury practice at (215) 661-0400 or SBarrett@HRMML.com.