You or someone you love has fallen ill with COVID-19. The virus has presented serious medical complications and caused lost time from work. In some tragic cases, the person affected has lost his or her life. Who spread the infection? What can you do about it? Can you sue?
The short answer to your question is “yes.” However, like most legal issues, things are a bit more complicated. Let’s take a look at the specific factors to consider if you have a legally cognizible claim against someone who may have infected you or a loved one with COVID-19.
What Type Of Legal Action Could You File?
Well, the most common legal action that would apply to such a scenario would be ordinary negligence. Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise reasonable care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised under similar circumstances, and that failure proximately caused a physical injury to another person who was foreseeably threatened by an unreasonable act or omission.
If someone infected with COVID-19 passes away as a result of the virus, an additional claim for wrongful death could be brought as well. A wrongful death claim seeks compensatory damages for the survivors’ losses (ex. deceased’s lost wages, funeral expenses, pain and suffering).
What Are The Potential Challenges With COVID-19 LAWSUITS?
The challenges with COVID-19 (and other communicably related injury lawsuits) is proving the allegations. In negligence actions, you must prove that (i) the wrongdoer owed the injured person a duty of care, (ii) the wrongdoer breached his or her duty of care, (iii) the breach of this duty of care caused an (iv) injury.
How would this translate to a COVID-19 negligence lawsuit?
First, you would have to prove that someone owed you a duty of care. For example, a home healthcare worker owes his or her patients a duty to care for their active daily living needs, properly administer medication, and keep them reasonably free from harm.
Next, you would have to prove that the same person who owed you a duty of care, breached that duty in some way. In this same example, imagine that the healthcare worker tested positive for COVID-19 three days before arriving at his or her patients’ home to care for them, disobeying strict instructions by his or her physician to self quarantine.
Then, you would need to prove that you were injured in some way. Perhaps the patients tested positive for COVID-19 after being cared for by the worker. They may have had adverse reactions and been confined to the hospital with a ventilator.
Finally, (and most difficult) you will need to prove that your injuries were caused by the wrongdoer violating his or her duty of care. The main problem with this is proving that one specific person spread COVID-19 to you, and he or she is the reason that you were infected / injured. This is often difficult to prove due to the amount of people and objects someone may come in contact with on a daily basis. Going to the store, receiving mail or having visitors could all present a problem when trying to prove that one specific person was the source of your infection. For example, a stronger case for causation may exists if the patients were a homebound married couple who only came in contact with the home healthcare worker, and they both tested positive for the virus soon after contact with the worker.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Call Us! We are here to help! If you are unsure whether you have a legal claim or not, we can listen and help steer your in the right direction. We do not charge for a simple telephone conversation. We know that you are struggling during this tough time, and we truly just want to arm you with accurate intelligent legal information that can help you!
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