Many people are curious if they can file a personal injury claim based on Coronavirus. What exactly does this mean? Well, if a person wants to file a Coronavirus claim resulting from personal injury, this could range from coronavirus-related deaths on cruise ships and in long-term care facilities. Such circumstances are becoming a source of tort litigation, which means that insurers have a lot to think about during this pandemic.
At Peach and Weathers, we handle all types of personal injury claims. Our team of professional attorneys has litigated numerous personal injury cases involving nursing homes, hospitals, and other medical facilities. While Coronavirus has opened a unique introduction to personal injury law, it’s important we explore what constitutes something as being a legitimate personal injury case involving Coronavirus.
Does Coronavirus have a role in personal injury law? In this article, the Peach and Weathers team will be exploring personal injury and Coronavirus, including the prospect of nursing home negligence and medical malpractice, emotional distress associated with Coronavirus, cruise ship liability, and workplace exposure.
Personal Injury Claims Based on Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Nursing home negligence and medical malpractice. According to Justia, most personal injury claims are based on negligence, which means that a person or a business did not use the appropriate care under the circumstances.
We trust medical professionals to care for our family members; however, some nursing homes inflict horrible personal injuries on their residents as a result of negligence.
In order for negligence to be considered a case, the person making the claim must show that they wouldn’t have suffered harm if the defendant had acted reasonably. These cases do not typically arise from contracting an infectious disease, as it can be hard to prove the precise source of exposure, as well as identifying a specific action by a defendant that showed a lack of reasonable care. However, there may be certain situations in which a patient may bring forth a negligence claim based on the coronavirus.
We’re all aware of the sad fact that the elderly are susceptible to contracting Coronavirus and developing severe symptoms from it. With many older ones living in nursing homes, the virus could spread rapidly. How can someone make a claim based on Coronavirus and malpractice? Let’s consider some circumstances that might result in a negligence claim.
Evidence could suggest that a medical professional failed to take reasonable precautions to protect their elderly patients or residents from infections. If this is the case, the affected individual may be able to sue the facility where the medical professional worked.
The affected individual would need to show that they contracted Coronavirus as a result of inadequate safety measures by staff members. Such inadequate safety measures might involve unsanitary conditions that promoted the spread of the disease or an inadequate response to an outbreak in the community.
Of course, each case is different, and the proper measures will depend on the specific circumstances.
Coronavirus: Emotional distress. What constitutes a bodily injury claim? Whether it’s a fear of contracting COVID-19 or emotional damages caused by a change of employment, such conditions may constitute a “bodily injury.”
Related issues of “emotional distress” from fear of contracting a virus along with mental injuries prompted by Coronavirus may be considered cognizable injuries under tort law as well.
Coronavirus: Cruise ship liability. Some COVID-19 patients contracted the disease while they were traveling on a cruise ship. If this happens, they likely can trace the exposure to their cruise. A passenger might be able to sue the cruise ship company if it failed to take reasonable precautions to protect their safety. For example, if crew members failed to identify infected passengers and separate them from healthy passengers within a reasonable time, a healthy passenger who later contracted COVID-19 might have a claim. The law in cruise ship cases can be complicated since the contract on the ticket imposes restrictions on potential claims. One of these restrictions is a ban on class actions, although it is unclear whether the ban would be enforced.
Coronavirus: Workplace exposure. An employee likely will not have a personal injury claim based on contracting COVID-19 at their workplace. If an employee works in the health care sector or holds a public safety job, such as a firefighter or a police officer, they likely can recover workers’ compensation benefits. Most other employees may face an uphill battle in claiming workers’ compensation, due to the laws in this area. If you’re interested in reading more about workers’ compensation and possible alternatives, visit Justia.
Holding Parties Accountable For Coronavirus Personal Injury
Just as any work-related injury grants you time off work and the need for medical treatment, there can likewise be a personal injury claim made for Coronavirus associated with work.
Some things to keep in mind:
- As with any work-injury claim, there must be evidence that the virus was contracted during the course of one’s employment.
- If you suspect a work-related exposure, it is legally appropriate to file a Workers’ Compensation claim with your employer.
Some policies define ‘bodily injury’ as injury, sickness, or disease sustained by a person, including death resulting from any of these at any time. Some policies, however, do not define the term “bodily injury” at all. As always, it is critical to focus on the actual language of the policy and especially the definition of “bodily injury,” and apply the actual facts to those provisions.
If you are intending to pursue a claim, be sure to keep a paper trail of all your medical treatment, and keep your employer informed of your medical and work status. Check out GEK Law for more information.
If You Suspect You Might Have a Personal Injury Case for Coronavirus
As a reminder: If you suspect you might have a Coronavirus personal injury case from as a result of any of the conditions listed above, be sure to obtain, complete, and submit a DWC-1 Form (Workers’ Compensation Claim Form) to your employer. This is critical in your claim, as a verbal report is not sufficient to initiate a claim.
In addition, in order to establish that you have a medical malpractice case, you must show that the medical professional treating you performed an act or failed to perform an act that resulted in you suffering additional harm or injury.
Personal injury claims may be brought against hospitals, doctors, or other medical personnel who were part of your team. You need to be able to clearly demonstrate that these facilities or individuals did not adhere to the accepted standard of care in the local medical community. At the law firm of Peach & Weathers, we can help you hold negligent health care professionals accountable for their acts.
Our team of personal injury lawyers is dedicated to ensuring negligent parties are held accountable for their actions while ensuring victims recover the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another, you need a lawyer on your side to help handle your claims. With more than 60 years of combined experience helping people pursue the compensation they deserve, the Peach and Weathers team is prepared to put that experience to work for you.