Since the coronavirus made its way to America, many of us are suddenly facing unemployment or unable to pay our bills. As the quarantine drags on, businesses are losing money, if they aren’t closed altogether. An increase in bankruptcy cases seems inevitable, as does an increase in business-related litigation as businesses cannot meet contractual obligations. Even divorce attorneys are anticipating a spike in cases. At Slappey & Sadd, we are concerned about what the coronavirus may mean for injury claims across the state of Georgia.
The elderly are among the most vulnerable, especially when it comes to contracting the coronavirus. We have written extensively about negligence in nursing homes, particularly about how many nursing homes across the state of Georgia routinely fail to provide an adequate level of care. If a nursing home facility fails to take reasonable precautions against the transmission of COVID-19, the results will be deadly. We are monitoring this situation closely.
Possible Employer Liability?
Many workers are worried that their employers are not providing sufficient protection against contracting the COVID-19 virus. Grocery store cashiers, for example, are demanding face shields and sneeze guards to protect against transmission. Workers in the delivery and transportation industry may not have access to masks and gloves. A potential personal injury claim could arise when employees feel that their employer ignored the risk of transmission or was negligent in protecting for contracting it. However, proving the employer’s liability could be challenging.
Potential Workers’ Compensation Claims
One potential area that may see an increase in claims is workers’ compensation. As you may be already aware, workers’ compensation doesn’t just cover workplace accidents and injuries – it also covers any illness or disease that may be contracted while on the job. For workers who are deemed “essential” and are exposed to the public, this means that they could contract the coronavirus while at work. As a result, they could conceivably pursue a workers’ compensation claim to cover their income and medical expenses so long as they are able to work.
As with any workers’ compensation claim, you must prove that your illness or disease was contracted in the course of your employment. We anticipate that this will be the challenge with any coronavirus-base claims – you will have to show that you contracted the virus from someone at work. Of course, the advantage of a workers’ compensation claim is that you will not have to prove that your employer was at fault in any way.
Hospital and Medical Provider Liability
There are also concerns about whether people will suffer serious illness or death as a result of misdiagnosis or rationing of medical services. Given the medical crisis we are facing, these claims will likely be extremely difficult to pursue. Regardless, we should all support our medical providers during these times and do our part to reduce transmission and prevent additional strain on our limited resources.
Slappey & Sadd – Atlanta Injury Lawyers
Founded in 1992, our firm is devoted to meeting whatever legal challenges you may be facing. We’re offering free phone and video consultations to our clients and prospective clients during this time – if you need to speak to a lawyer, call us at 888-474-9616 or send us an email.