can I sue for coronavirus?

Can I Sue for COVID-19 Infection or Death?

The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event that our nation is still in the midst of, and we will not know the full extent of its consequences for quite some time. What we do know, however, is that hundreds of thousands of Americans have tested positive for the virus and tens of thousands have died from it. And because the vast majority of our population has not been tested yet, it is reasonable to assume that there are countless additional cases that we do not know about.

One of the important questions that a growing number of people are asking is what legal rights COVID-19 victims have. Can someone who contracts the virus because of another person or party’s wrongful actions bring a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible? Can the family of someone who died from the coronavirus bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party?

This is a rapidly emerging area of the law, and the legal system is still in the process of determining the answers to these questions and in what circumstances a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit would be appropriate.

Cruise Ships where the Coronavirus Spreads

One of the first places where massive outbreaks of COVID-19 began to affect Americans was on cruise ships. Large groups of people being in an enclosed environment for several days at a time causes the virus to spread very quickly, and to date, tens of thousands of passengers and crew members from cruise ships all over the world have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Several lawsuits have been filed against cruise ship companies, including a class-action suit against Costa Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines. Experts warn, however, that these lawsuits face an uphill battle because of liability limits that are hidden in passengers’ paperwork, maritime laws, and the fact that many of the cruise ship companies are based in foreign countries.

Hospitals and Nursing Homes that Fail to Protect Patients from COVID-19

The first major coronavirus outbreak on US soil was at a nursing home in the state of Washington, where dozens of patients died. While it may be difficult to hold the very first facilities that had outbreaks liable for the spread of COVID-19, it is a different story for those that have been infected by the virus after these facilities knew (or should have known) about the risks and failed to follow proper safety protocols.

Businesses that Fail to Protect Employees and Customers from the Coronavirus

Earlier this month, Walmart was sued by the family of an employee who died of COVID-19 after contracting the virus while working at one of the company’s Chicago area stores. The suit alleges that managers of the store failed to alert employees after several of them began showing symptoms of the coronavirus. The 51-year-old victim is said to have informed a store manager in mid-March that he was having symptoms, but that the manager ignored him. On March 25, he was found dead in his home.

The circumstances that triggered the Walmart wrongful death lawsuit are a prime example of what can happen when a business fails to implement proper safety protocols to protect their employees and customers. If it can be shown, for example, that management knew (or should have known) that an employee was infected and/or their product was contaminated by COVID-19, those who become seriously ill or die as a result should be able to hold those who are responsible fully accountable.

Individuals Who Spread the Coronavirus

What about an individual who knowingly spreads COVID-19 to others? For example, a person tests positive for the coronavirus and fails to self-quarantine. Instead, they go out to the grocery store and expose countless others to the virus. Unfortunately, there are those who are not taking this situation as seriously as they should, and this could result in other individuals becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus. A person could be held liable for this provided you could prove that they knew they had the coronavirus and continued to expose others to it.

Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is Here to Help

There are a lot of questions that are yet to be answered about liability for illness or death from the coronavirus, and as this area of law develops, we will gain a clearer picture of when and under what circumstances it would be appropriate to sue someone for a COVID-19 infection or death. That said, if this has happened to you or a loved one, we recommend getting in contact with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to review your case. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to successfully pursue a claim.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over four decades of experience standing up for those who have been injured by the negligence or reckless actions of others. We have a successful track record with even the most complex cases, and we have been at the forefront of many emerging areas of the law. While our country continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to be fully operational while taking all the safety precautions and observing social distancing guidelines.

For a free, no obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979. We look forward to serving you!

people helping each other in WVA during coronavirus

How West Virginians are Helping Each Other During the COVID-19 Crisis

We are living in extraordinary times. Who would have thought even a couple months ago that a virus from overseas would ravage our country and kill tens of thousands of our citizens? But here we are.

There is not one person who has not been impacted in some way by the coronavirus pandemic. Some have lost loved ones to the virus, while many others have lost their jobs because of the effects of it. Those who are still working are either essential front-line workers who are putting their lives on the line to keep our society safe and functional or telecommuters who are working out of their homes. And of course, our kids have been pulled out of school and they are doing their classes online these days.

We have all had our lives disrupted by COVID-19, and these disruptions coupled with uncertainty about the future have been hard on a lot of people. But the good news is that Americans have faced serious challenges in the past, and we have always risen to the occasion. The same is happening as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

West Virginians Pulling Together during Times of Crisis

West Virginia was one of the last states to have a confirmed case of the coronavirus, and thankfully, we have fared much better than most other areas of the country so far. That said, we now have hundreds of confirmed cases, and as more people are tested, this number continues to rise. But as the threat of the virus grows in our state, so does the resolve of our citizens to pull together and help those who are in greatest need.

On March 24, the National Guard was mobilized to help with the crisis. We now have roughly 100 national guardsmen and women that are in various parts of the state providing support to those who are on the front lines. Some are assisting local hospitals and first responders by moving supplies around the state while others are providing assistance at food distribution centers and helping answer calls from concerned citizens. The Guard is also providing assistance with COVID-19 tracking and analytics.

Citizens in local communities are also pitching in to help where they can during the midst of this crisis. Here are some of the ways that West Virginians are helping their neighbors get through this:

  • Supporting Local Food Shelves: With so many people out of work, food shelves all over the state are facing an ever-growing need. At the same time, many of the regular volunteers are staying home because they are in a higher risk category of getting the virus. The National Guard is helping out, and so are other citizens who are able to financially support these charities and/or give some of their time. It is challenging, but by working together, we will continue to ensure that no one in this state goes hungry.
  • Helping the Elderly in Local Neighborhoods: Our seniors are among those who are hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them are afraid to go out and buy groceries and other essential items because of the virus, and a large number of them are also feeling very lonely not being able to visit with anyone. Neighbors across West Virginia are stepping up to make sure the elderly in their communities are taken care of. Some are delivering essential goods to them (while staying at a distance), and others are calling them up and speaking with them for a while, so they do not feel so isolated.
  • Supporting Frontline Workers: While many of us are working from home, there are others who do not have that option. These are the “essential” workers, like medical personnel, grocery store workers, and delivery drivers, who are on the front lines. Others in the community are helping these workers by having meals delivered to them, sending them other types of gifts and cards, or just giving them a simple “thank you” for their service.
  • Supporting Local Businesses: Many businesses that are considered non-essential have been hurt badly by having to close during the coronavirus pandemic. Those hardest hit are places like restaurants and others where large groups tend to gather. Individuals in their communities realize that many of these businesses are in trouble, and they are doing what they can to support them. This may include patronizing those who remain open with limited services or purchasing gift cards from businesses that are closed for now but plan to reopen later.

To help streamline relief efforts, a new website has been established called Rapid Response WV with the slogan, “taking care of each other is the West Virginia way.” But this is more than just a slogan, it is who we are. On this website, you can find out how to obtain help, get clear instructions if you feel sick, contribute resources, or volunteer.

Before long, the coronavirus pandemic will be over, and we will be able to resume our normal lives again. And when we look back, our greatest memory will be the way West Virginians looked out for each other during one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history. In the meantime, we at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. want to remind everyone to follow the guidelines, stay safe, and do what you can to help your neighbor. We are all in this together, and we will all come out stronger together because of this experience.