Can Personal Injury Liability be Tied to COVID-19?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, and this includes how it is affecting the legal landscape. Questions regarding personal injury liability and COVID-19 are at the forefront of the current legal debate, and no one has concrete answers. If you or a loved one contracted COVID-19, can you file a personal injury claim against an individual or entity? Littman & Babiarz, personal injury lawyers in Ithaca and Auburn, NY, seek to provide some information and advice on this subject.

Legislation Limiting COVID-19 Personal Injury Claims

Well in advance of any proposed personal injury liability claims connected to COVID-19, many state governments were already moving to limit these cases. On March 24, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order effectively limiting the liability for healthcare workers and organizations involved in treating patients with COVID-19. This order does not eliminate the possibility of personal injury lawsuits, but it does make them extremely difficult. Plaintiffs much establish that gross negligence occurred.

Moreover, many states have either enacted laws or issued executive orders to protect nursing homes from personal injury liability claims relating to COVID-19. Among these states, New York is reported to have the “broadest liability shield,” allegedly drafted in part by nursing home lobbyists. This is unfortunate due to the fact that many coronavirus deaths have occurred in nursing homes, presumably because of poor care and other factors.

The goal for such limitations is to encourage essential businesses and services to either remain open or reopen as soon as possible. It is expected that pharmacies, food stores and other similar outlets will seek similar legal protection for themselves and their employees. Littman & Babiarz, a personal injury law firm in Auburn, NY, can advise you about possible claims against such entities.

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Personal Injury Liability Claims and COVID-19

Regardless of these protections and other rumored legal barriers to come, numerous personal injury liability claims have already been filed, such as this case in Illinois and this case against a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. Plaintiffs in these and other cases claim negligence, in that the defendants failed to properly warn others of outbreaks and failed to take the appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

An anticipated high volume of personal injury liability lawsuits has prompted many to call for even more restrictions against personal injury claims, including Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

However, with the inconsistencies and contradictions in public health information, and the resulting confusion within businesses and organizations as they reopen, it is evident that some genuine cases of negligence and malpractice do exist. Those victims deserve protection of their rights and compensation for their injuries and losses. Littman & Babiarz, personal injury attorneys in Syracuse, believe that justice should not be ignored, even in the midst of a global health crisis. In fact, quality legal protections are even more important for individuals and families during such crises.

If you or a loved one believe you have been affected by negligence or malpractice connected to COVID-19, in healthcare, the workplace or elsewhere, contact Littman & Babiarz, Attorneys at Law in Ithaca, Auburn and Syracuse, NY for a consultation. Winning your possible claim is not impossible, and seeking justice should not be avoided or curtailed in light of the health crisis.