COVID-19 Litigation: All You Need to Know

In December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) received its first report on the Coronavirus affecting a human. Fast forward four months to March, and this virus has become a global pandemic, with the United States government being forced to issue a nationwide lockdown.

COVID-19 Litigation: All You Need to Know

In December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) received its first report on the Coronavirus affecting a human. Fast forward four months to March, and this virus has become a global pandemic, with the United States government being forced to issue a nationwide lockdown. 

Thousands of people tragically lost their lives to this virus, and businesses other than establishments deemed essential had to close down. Most workplaces shifted to working from home where possible, while some had to implement social distancing rules, mask mandates, and hand hygiene. 

However, some employers, businesses, and establishments didn’t observe coronavirus safety rules, leading to employees contracting the virus at the workplace. Many people are filing COVID-19 litigations against such organizations, holding them accountable for their negligence. 

Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19 lawsuits.

COVID-19 Guidelines and Legislations

The COVID-19 guidelines and legislations vary depending on the jurisdiction. Also, some of these laws have changed since the lockdown protocols, due to a better understanding of this virus. 

So, you must have knowledge about your state’s set of laws or hire a reputable attorney to help when filing a COVID-19 lawsuit. 

For example, in Florida, there’s a mandate requesting employers to offer insurance coverage to health care providers, first responders, and other workers whose work operations put them at risk of infection. 

In New York, the current legislation works on a rebuttable presumption that health issues due to COVID were incurred during the line of duty for some first-time responders, probation, and parole officers. 

This setup means that pending the provision of contrary evidence, these workers are eligible for compensation on COVID-19 claims. 

Workers' Compensation and COVID-19

The workers’ compensation for COVID-19-related health issues is subject to state laws. In most cases, the affected worker must prove that they contracted this virus at the workplace to be eligible for a claim. Also, they have to show it stemmed from a single act and resulted from the employer’s negligence.  

Some workers’ comp rules exclude the “ordinary diseases of life” plan from their coverage, meaning the flu or cold fall outside possible claims. 

What About Health Care Workers? 

The workers’ comp situation is also complex in high-risk industries such as health care. Despite the high potential for infection, COVID-19 isn’t automatically considered a workplace injury. 

Thus, only proof of employees contracting the virus while undertaking their work operations can lead to a claim. 

COVID-19 rules and regulations are unique to your jurisdiction, and if you feel you’re eligible for a workers’ comp, contacting an attorney is your best bet at getting due compensation. They’ll engage COVID-19 litigation information to build an impeccable lawsuit that’ll yield long-term dividends.

Does the Law View COVID-19 as an Occupational Disease?

An occupational disease describes an illness or ailment a worker gets via risks they’re exposed to during work operations. Claims in this plan differ from workers’ compensation in their analysis, as injuries here are due to a series of events, unlike the latter, which is a single occurrence. 

Once again, jurisdiction comes into play. Different states have unique rules and regulations regarding what constitutes an occupational disease and its handling. 

What Does It Involve? 

Occupational diseases require that work-related exposure leads to an injury, and a medically diagnosable link must exist between them. 

Workers’ comp administrators examining employment conditions often search for exposure to toxic substances, radiation, fumes, chemicals, vibrations, or noise. 

Many US states observe the rebuttable presumption rule in some occupations, such as firefighters and several first responders. 

So, this rule grants such employees access to workers’  compensation claims for specific injuries due to their regular exposure to risks such as fire and fumes. 

Other employees in similar situations, where their job operations expose them to a regular risk of contracting COVID, can make a rebuttable presumption claim. 

However, proving they got this virus while performing their duties is challenging, even in such cases. Also, most workers’ comp plans currently don’t offer this coverage, so there’s a high chance that their claim will get denied. 

Despite this challenging setup, a competent lawyer can help you navigate this gray area, helping workers get the compensation they deserve.

Contracting COVID-19 in Homes and Senior Centers

COVID-19 deaths in the US crossed over a million, with seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems being the most at-risk populace. 

So, it’s expected that nursing centers would observe and implement all social distancing and COVID rules to protect their occupants. 

However, in reality, this scenario wasn’t the case, as many homes and senior centers were negligent in handling the pandemic, leading to multiple preventable deaths. Employees and residents fell prey to the virus due to the slow response or lack thereof from these businesses’ management. 

Many nursing centers failed to set up quarantines, practice social distancing, or implement mask mandates, thereby leading to a rapid spread of the highly contagious virus in their facilities. 

The result is high fatalities that, in turn, lead to COVID-19 claims, aimed at making them accountable for their negligence. 

Contracting COVID in Holding Centers

Holding Centers, jails, and prisons serve as correctional facilities with strict entry rules. So, it was surprising for many families to learn that there were numerous virus outbreaks in confinement centers. 

Many individuals tested positive for COVID-19 and subsequently succumbed to this virus’ effect, leaving loved ones asking questions such as the following:

  • How did the residents contract this virus while in a holding center? 
  • What plans, if any, did holding centers have to prevent an outbreak in their facilities? 
  • How could someone infected with the Coronavirus get into a holding center? 

Many families have filed COVID-19 lawsuits against jails, prisons, and holding centers. They believe these facilities need to provide answers to questions such as those posed. 

If you’re in a similar situation, contact a top COVID-19 litigation lawyer to review your case at no cost. 

Possible Claims in COVID-19 Litigations

Here are some of the common claims in COVID-19 lawsuits: 

Wrongful Termination

Many businesses switched to remote work during the pandemic or implementing social distancing and other covid guidelines. However, some individuals weren’t so lucky, with their employers taking advantage of the crisis to lay them off for unethical and unfair reasons. 

If you’re one of such employees, you can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer. 

Here are some bases that make you eligible to take legal action:

  • Taking sick leave; is a plan the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) supports. 
  • Approaching an employer with your health and safety concerns. 
  • Choosing to obey a shelter-in-place mandate instead of going into the workplace.

Workplace Discrimination 

During the COVID-19 crisis, many individuals fell victim to workplace discrimination. 

False assumptions and biases ran rampant in many firms leading to a hostile working environment for many people. 

If you encounter such an experience, you can file a workplace discrimination lawsuit. 

Some of such situations include the following:

  • Cutting an employee’s work hours due to their age 
  • Terminating an employee’s contract based on their nationality
  • Excluding prospective and qualified applicants from a job posting due to their ethnicity 

Nursing Homes and Senior Centers Neglect

These facilities help to protect and care for our loved ones. 

Thus, they should shield their employees and residents from COVID-19 by implementing strict precautions. 

Many individuals are filing claims against centers that neglected this crucial duty. 

Workers’ Compensation 

Front-line workers are the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of them risking their lives to care for infected individuals. 

It was more than a risk for many police officers, health care providers, drivers, and other first-time responders. Unfortunately, they got infected, leading to astronomic medical expenses, unpaid income, and several other damages. 

If you or a loved one has suffered financially, emotionally, or physically after contracting COVID-19 during work, you are eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits. 

Sometimes, the insurance company might deny, delay, or undervalue your claim due to the complex legalities involved with COVID-19 compensations. 

However, you shouldn’t worry about such scenarios as competent attorneys can provide you with legal aid and get you deserving compensation. 

Funeral Home Negligence

Unfortunately, over a million lives have been lost to the pandemic in the US. 

This situation led to a high influx of services for funeral homes, and many of these establishments struggled to handle the bodies appropriately. 

However, such a fatal scenario doesn’t prevent funeral homes from abusing or neglecting the remains of individuals under their care. 

Many families are suing such operators who practice unethical behaviors such as the following: 

  • Mishandling, dropping or losing a body. 
  • Mistreating human remains, including storing bodies in unrefrigerated spaces
  • Not attending to bodies for extended periods
  • Pilling human remains in a stack. 
  • Delivering bodies to the wrong resting grounds

Funeral homes that treated the remains of loved ones lost during the COVID-19 crisis must account for their misdeeds. 

Consider contacting an attorney to help out. 

COVID-19 Litigations — Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Sue Someone for Intentionally Infecting You With COVID-19? 

Yes, it’s possible to file a lawsuit against someone who intentionally infects you with COVID. 

However, it can be challenging to win such litigation. 

For example, picture a scenario where someone threatened to infect you and then proceeded to cough or perform an action that put you at risk of infection. 

In courts, you’ll need to provide proof that they are actually responsible for Infecting you and you didn’t contact the virus elsewhere. 

Can You Sue Businesses for Infecting You with COVID-19? 

Yes, you can file COVID-19 litigation against a business if they played a role in you or your family getting infected with the virus. These cases are more accessible to prove than claims where individuals are the negligent party. 

If a business fails to implement state COVID and social distancing guidelines, they’re liable for putting their customers at risk of infection. 

Nursing homes and holding centers are some of the facilities that can be sued for this negligence. 

Residents of these places rarely have opportunities to interact with outsiders, making an in-house infection more probable. 

Can You Sue Someone for Contracting COVID-19? 

No, you can’t sue someone for contracting COVID-19 if you’re worried about them infecting you with the virus. 

Such fears aren’t hefty enough to warrant litigation, and it’s challenging to prove the transmission chain between persons in such a highly contagious virus. 

Can You File a COVID-19 Litigation Against the Government? 

Yes, you can file a COVID-19 lawsuit against the government. However, the success of such litigation depends on your jurisdiction’s laws. 

For example, a school in Brooklyn filed a case against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services for mishandling the pandemic. 

This educational institution accused both agencies of poorly preparing and responding to threats surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In contrast, multiple business owners have filed a class action lawsuit against the state government, challenging their decision to pass an executive order to close their businesses. 

These cases are still pending, and it’s currently unclear and challenging to predict their outcome. 

It’s best to speak with a competent lawyer if you wish to take up litigation against the US government. 

They’ll help review your case for free and determine your chances of building a solid case. 

COVID-19 Litigations: Parting Shot

  1. Filing COVID-19 claims is tricky, and the strength of your case depends on your jurisdiction. States observe different rules and regulations regarding the pandemic, so getting a lawyer to evaluate is a good idea. 

    You can claim workers’ compensation benefits, sue an employer, or file litigation against a business if they’re discriminatory or fail to observe government-issued guidelines. 

    If you or a loved one contracts COVID-19 due to their actions, you shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden of the resulting health care expenses and missed work. 

    The pandemic’s psychological stress and economic crisis are more than enough trouble. 

    So, consider contacting a lawyer to help you prepare a litigation if you or your loved ones have experienced workplace discrimination, nursing home neglect, unlawful employment termination, or are eligible for workers’ comp benefits. 

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