Coronavirus and Infectious Disease Lawsuits
Businesses are bracing for a wave of coronavirus lawsuits even as Congress moves to provide them immunity. What would immunity mean? Essentially, it would prevent customers and workers from filing lawsuits against the business to recover medical expenses and lost wages.
Perhaps spurred by the Trump Administration’s liability waivers at his most recent rallies, businesses are likely to require customers to sign waivers if they become ill with the virus. Of course, waivers like these can either be enforceable or unenforceable by the courts, so we’ll take a closer look at liability waivers and what they mean.
Inherent Risks of Being in Public
For customers, filing an infectious disease lawsuit against a proprietor is very difficult. Even in common scenarios, like when an individual gets food poisoning at a restaurant, it can be difficult to prove that it was in fact the restaurant that caused the food poisoning. It becomes even more difficult to pin the blame on a proprietor when the disease is not spread by food, but in the very air we breathe. How can you possibly prove you breathed in the germ at a specific location?
Nonetheless, businesses are terrified by the prospect of customers filing coronavirus lawsuits against them. What they should be more terrified about is employees filing coronavirus lawsuits against them.
Liability and Sanitation
On the other hand, proprietors do have a duty of care to provide a safe premises for those who they invite onto their property. Already, there are a number of restrictions in place that ensure that social distancing is enforced and that surfaces are wiped clean with chemicals that kill the virus. If a business fails to put into place measures that would reduce the likelihood of spreading a contagion, they can be held liable under the law but likely not by a customer.
Even though the business failed in its duty of care, the customer still has to prove that they contracted the contagion at the proprietor’s place of business. While the standard of proof in a civil case is lower than in criminal cases, ties generally go to the defense. So if a jury is left to flip a coin as to whether or not the plaintiff contracted coronavirus there or somewhere else, the plaintiff doesn’t really stand a chance in court.
One of the most noteworthy examples of a lawsuit like this involved Chipotle Mexican Grill between 2015 and 2018. A health inspection of the restaurant was conducted after more than 1,000 people fell ill from norovirus and other contagions over that three-year period. Chipotle was fined $25 million for the mishap, but puking for a day isn’t something most people would sue over. So the customers themselves get nothing out of Chipotle except the satisfaction of knowing they would fork their profits over to Uncle Sam.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another person, you are entitled to file a lawsuit against that person to recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.