Most personal injury claims are based on a standard legal theory referred to as negligence, which means that a person or an entity did not exercise reasonable care under a certain circumstance which resulted in personal injury. The individual filing the claim (the plaintiff) must show that they would not have suffered injury if the defendant had acted reasonably. These cases do not typically arise from contracting an illness, such as the common cold or the flu, as it can be difficult to pinpoint when exactly a person became infected, where they became infected, and that the defendant engaged in negligence. That said, there may be certain situations in which a plaintiff successfully file a negligence claim against a defendant based on contracting coronavirus.
COVID-19 and Nursing Home Negligence
Of every demographic, the elderly are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, which can lead to serious illness or death. Many of the elderly live in assisted living and/or nursing homes, where the virus has the chance to spread like wildfire. If evidence brought forth suggests that a nursing home failed to take reasonable precautions to protect its residents from COVID, the resident may have a viable personal injury claim if they can show evidence that they contracted the virus due to the negligence of the staff members. Evidence may include unsanitary conditions that assisted the spread of coronavirus or an inadequate response to an outbreak in the facility. For example, if a nursing home has an outbreak of COVID, they might need to quarantine residents and staff, clean and disinfect certain areas, and inform other residents of the risk. However, every case is unique, and the measures taken will depend on the specific circumstance.
In May 2020, Nevada granted protection to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities against certain types of lawsuits related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Nevada nursing home facilities are shielded from liability for ordinary negligence that caused coronavirus-related harm. However, they are not protected from gross negligence or intentional misconduct. For more information, or to obtain a free case evaluation on a nursing home injury, please contact The Injury Firm directly at (702) 800-0988.
COVID and Medical Malpractice
If a plaintiff was exposed to COVID-19 through negligence at a hospital or other medical facility, they might be able to bring a medical malpractice claim against the facility where they believe they contracted the virus. Medical malpractice claims are different from standard personal injury claims because they involve a specialized standard of care. In most cases, a plaintiff and/or their attorney will need to solicit an expert who can legally explain why the defendant acted out of negligence. Medical malpractice claims are highly complex, so it is advisable to seek the help of an experienced attorney prior to entering into one of these types of cases.
COVID in the Workplace
An employee will have a difficult time pursuing a personal injury claim based on contracting COVID-19 at their place of work. However, if an employee works in the health care field or holds a position in public safety, such as an EMT, firefighter, or police officer, they likely can recover workers’ compensation benefits.