The Law Offices Of Jacob Emrani Can Help
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and believe another partys negligence caused exposure, contact our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at . Well evaluate your case at no cost. For coronavirus information and assistance, visit the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Can You Sue Someone For Giving You Covid
Its human nature to want justice when we believe weve been injured by another person, particularly if we believe that the loss of a loved one was due to someones negligence.
Negligence is the cornerstone of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
In order to recover damages for any injury or death, you need to prove that the person or company that caused the injury was at fault because they reasonably should have known that their action would result in harm.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident because someone ran a red light, you can sue them.
So can you sue someone for giving you COVID-19?
Thats a little more complicated.
Technically, you should be able to sue someone who caused you harm or illness. But a virus that you cant see, smell, hear, taste or touch presents challenges for determining exactly how and when you were exposed.
You cant win a lawsuit if you cant prove how you got infected. And while its highly unlikely that you contracted covid from handling a bottle of milk or your mail, its not impossible. And, if youve left your home at all during the time when you could have been exposed to the illness , then theres no real way to know who you couldve been exposed to or who infected you.
And herein lies the problem.
However, businesses still have a responsibility to take appropriate measures to keep staff and patrons safe. Some states passed laws shielding businesses and employers from liability for covid exposure.
What Are The Issues With A Law Like This
In general, the passage and enforcement of all laws must be tested for necessity. This implies two things: the measure corresponds to a pressing social need and is proportionate to the legitimate aim being pursued.
There is also a distinction between public health and public order laws. The current emergency laws provide exceptional powers to require certain behaviours to protect public health, not to combat public disorder, which is dealt with under general criminal laws.
The danger of adding to general criminal laws in a crisis is the potential over-criminalisation of the general public.
There have been some reports of public disorder during the current pandemic, but as yet, there is no evidence of widespread deliberate and intentional transmission of COVID-19.
The application of the law in cases like this is also uncertain and unclear. For example, what do Hunts words, take a step and deliberate, mean in this context? How would it be proved that coughing on someone led to the death of a healthcare worker?
First, it would be difficult to identify a specific individual as the source of a possible infection, particularly since the virus can remain on surfaces for several days.
This is a much more complex issue in public health cases.
a persons awareness of the risk that his or her conduct may result in harm does not support the inference that the person intended to produce the harm.
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Can I Sue A Person Or Business For Exposing Me To The Coronavirus
A person or entity may be held liable for spreading a contagious illness when they fail to meet the applicable standard of care required during these circumstances by breaching their legal duty.
Both individuals and businesses must conduct themselves according to appropriate safety standards set by our health and safety administration, government authorities, and society.
Personal injury claims are not criminal cases. That means the person or entity liable for the spread of COVID-19 to another out of negligence or malice can be held financially responsible for the damages they have caused.
Negligence occurs when a person breaches their duty to act carefully, which is undeniably important when avoiding the spread of a virus that can jeopardize the health of everyone exposed to it even over a matter of seconds.
To develop a strong case against the person or entity that acted negligently in spreading this potentially deadly virus, our Houston personal injury lawyers must be able to prove the necessary elements of negligence.
Those elements include:
- The person or company had a duty of care in preventing the spread of the virus
- The person or company breached that duty of care
- The breach of care caused personal injuries, which include infecting another person
- That damages resulted from the breach, which can include medical care, ongoing expenses, or wrongful death
What Is Contact Tracing
Some states and the federal government are ramping up efforts around contact tracing. Contact tracing involves keeping track of who tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone that person has been in contact with recently. The people the person was in contact with get quarantined. Some version of contact tracing has been used for other illnesses for years.
There are two main ways to do contact tracing. One way is app-based. The apps use location data from peoples phones to see who has been physically close to other people, and shares that information with other users or the government. There are a lot of problems with this approach. For one thing, location data on phones just isnt exact enough to be able to tell whether someone is within 6 feet of others, or whether there might be a solid barrier between them. People in apartment buildings could be tracked as being in close contact with those in apartments above, below, and beside them.
The other way to do contact tracing is through hiring people to talk to every person who tests positive, and ask them to list all of the people they have been in contact with over the last two weeks. The contact tracers then contact those people and inform them that they are quarantined. Many states, like New York, have begun hiring, training, and deploying contact tracers. Biden has said he plans to hire contact tracers in larger numbers.
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Can Businesses Be Sued
Again, the answer is yes. The Occupational Safety and Health Acts general duty clause states that employers must furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees. If a business does not take reasonable steps to protect its employees, they are exposing themselves to legal action.
In fact, some lawsuits have already started to roll in. In Chicago, the family of a coronavirus victim is suing Walmart. The family claims the store failed to notify employees when several employees started showing symptoms. Four from that store have died. Similarly, two workers at Radio Communications Systems are suing because they allege they were fired after voicing concerns that their employer was not following state-ordered precautions.
Here in New Jersey, construction workers are voicing their concern over dangerous work conditions on a Jersey City job site, laying the groundwork for legal action should one of them become sick.
The Collection Of Your Personal Health Information
Because COVID-19 constitutes a public health hazard that can come into the workplace, under the Canada Labour Code your employer can request that you provide information regarding COVID-19, to the extent that it directly relates to ensuring the health and safety of employees in the workplace.
Based on these requirements, the employer can request the following information:
Finally, your employer may follow up with you to ensure a return to the worksite when it is safe to do so.
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Can Victims Of Coronavirus Sue For Personal Injury
As of the writing of this article, there have been nearly 380,000 cases of coronavirus and close to 12,000 deaths in the U.S. during the outbreak.1
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis on many levels. There are many legal issues arising due to coronavirus on top of the public health and economic fallouts. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines such as social distancing, personal injury lawyers have been addressing potential liability issues involving cruise ships, nursing homes, and governments.
It appears that coronavirus victims can file a personal injury lawsuit and claim an entity is liable for negligent transmission. When passengers aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess became infected in February, it wasnt only the Japanese governments quarantine procedures that were scrutinized. Just like a nursing home in Seattle where numerous residents were infected with COVID-19, a cruise line can be liable for not taking reasonable measures to protect people.
Workers Compensation Laws Complicate Lawsuits
Almost all on-the-job injuries are covered by workers compensation, which is basically a legally mandated insurance system your employer has to carry.
Workers compensation is a no-fault system where no matter who is at fault for your workplace injurywhether its because your boss let the work area remain in an unsafe condition or if it was because you were goofing off and not paying attentionyou will be paid a certain percent of your salary when you collect.
The good news for employees is that whether it was your fault or your employers fault, youre almost automatically entitled to compensation for a workplace injuryassuming you can prove that your injury or illness took place on the job. The bad news is that by filing a claim for workers comp insurance, you cant sue your boss for additional money, like pain and suffering damages.
With the cloud of liability hanging over companies, some states have enacted laws intended to shield companies from employee lawsuits relating to contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. The majority of those laws apply only to lawsuitsthey dont affect whether or not an employee can file a workers compensation claim.
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Civil Vs Criminal Courts
There have been a few news stories about people who deliberately attempted to infect someone with COVID-19, either by spitting or coughing on them. Although those individuals have been charged criminally in some cases, it would still be very difficult to receive financial compensation in a civil lawsuit.
A legal action is handled differently in civil courts than in criminal courts. For example, if someone is charged with attempted murder, its because they tried to murder someone and they can be convicted even though the person isnt actually dead.
Heres another example:
If you were in a car accident and the other driver was drunk, they could be charged with a DUI just because they were drunk, even if you werent injured. But you cant sue them for damages if you were not injured as a result of the accident.
So, going back to a person who has COVID-19 deliberately behaving in a way that could cause another person to get sick, they might be criminally liable but not liable in a civil lawsuit.
There have also been some lawsuits for intentional torts related to exposing a plaintiff to a sexually transmitted disease . This type of case would hinge on the intentional act , intentional failure to disclose a medical diagnosis, and a causal link between the action and the plaintiffs injury or illness. Although this is easier to prove than becoming infected with COVID-19, its still not a simple lawsuit to win.
An Uncertain Date In Court
Coronavirus cases have been easier to track in other travel sectors like the cruise industry than hotels, where the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston remains the only high-profile coronavirus hot spot in the industry. The limited number of hot spots to date could turn plaintiff attorneys off from moving ahead with lawsuits. With legionnaires disease, it is easier to track back to one poorly maintained water system and assemble a group of cases for a class action lawsuit. Coronavirus is a different story.
Its often not cost-effective for plaintiff lawyers to take one case and bring it against one operator, Goebel said. They typically want to get a class action with many cases, but I think its going to be difficult for them to get class actions going because every person with it is going to have a question of how they first contracted coronavirus.
If a case is allowed to move ahead, there is also the uncertainty in whether liability insurance policies extend to infectious diseases. All the attorneys interviewed for this story said they are advising clients to review their liability insurance policies, many of which have an exclusion for communicable diseases.
What often happens in practice is the cost of litigation is so high that many things get settled and you dont develop good case history or case law to show what, in fact, people would take into consideration to determine what is reasonable or not, Tschann said.
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Can I Sue My Employer For Failing To Protect Me From Covid
If you got coronavirus because your employer did not take reasonable steps to protect your from exposure, you could sue them.
Unfortunately, even if you are not a doctor or a nurse, you can still catch coronavirus at work. Your employer has a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure their employees are safe. It will be difficult to get workers compensation for Covid-19 because it is a pandemic. However, you can still sue your employer.
What Are The Rules About Wearing Masks And Face Coverings
It depends on the jurisdiction. One clear trend is that laws requiring facial masks create confusion and often get used in a discriminatory way. Melissa Gira Grant has a short document on the criminal history of masking that is helpful. In some jurisdictions, business owners/shopkeepers are enforcing the usage of masks, while in others it is unclear who is responsible for enforcement .
In the context of COVID-19, most of the pro-mask directions are not clear as to what is and is not a mask and who makes that determination. For example, we can compare New Jersey, California, and New York to see the differences in how these rules were initially issued. In New Jersey the governor issued an order which directs business owners to require customers & employees of private businesses to wear masks. In California, the Department of Public health lets you choose to wear a mask. In New York, the governors order requires people over the age of 2 to wear masks, but doesnt identify who is enforcing the requirement. Illinois has an order effective May 1st, 2020 that requires people who can medically tolerate and is over two to wear a mask, and lists this is enforced by local and state law enforcement. The New York & California orders blur the requirement further by mandating a mask only when social distancing isnt available.
What does it mean to be in quarantine or isolation?
How do I know if I am quarantined?
Are there risks to saying I am under quarantine?
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The Peoples Republic Of China And Underreporting Of The Covid
Officials in the Peoples Republic of China appear to have ignored and deleted doctors warnings of an unconventional pneumonia when it first appeared in Central China. The countrys alleged cover up may have allowed the virus to spread to other Asian countries and beyond.
Accordingly, parties emphasizing Chinas role in the spread of the virus refer to Covid-19 as the Wuhan Virus. Such a moniker likely also helps de-emphasize their own delay in identifying and responding to the growth of Covid-19 from local matter to global pandemic. Even the World Health Organization has grappled with Covid-19 coronavirus misinformation, receiving criticism for repeating Chinas initial downplaying of the virus, and naming the disease to avoid reference to its genetic cousin, the SARS virus that became epidemic in 2003.
Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer In Lake Charles Louisiana Today
If your child goes to school this fall and contracts the COVID-19 virus, youre going to be upset. Your childs safety is your number one concern. You may not be in a position to continue to teach your children from home. You may have been called back to work. Or, you may have been working throughout the pandemic and have learned that you have no childcare for the fall. Either way, know that there are guidelines in place to keep your children safe.
If, however, your child does get sick after returning to school, you may need an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lake Charles. While the schools are going to enjoy a lot of immunity when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesnt mean theyre automatically off the hook. If your attorney can prove gross negligence, you may be entitled to damages. The only way to know for sure is to call our office right away and schedule your free initial consultation.
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Government Has Issued Broad Immunity To Louisiana Schools
One of the main sticking points in the ongoing Coronavirus aid packages has to do with school liability. It doesnt seem fair to hold schools legally responsible for students or faculty who contract the Coronavirus. This means that, if your child does return to school and gets sick, you probably wont have a case against the school or municipality.
This is why its important that you talk to an experienced injury attorney in Louisiana. They can review your case and give you an idea of whether or not you have a case. Given the immunity enjoyed by schools, it will be very hard to hold them legally and financially responsible.