Without a doubt, the biggest issue facing the world today is the pandemic that is being caused by COVID-19, which is a novel strain of the coronavirus. While many articles start off by listing facts and figures about the size and scope of the pandemic, these numbers change by the minute. The states that are hardest hit by the pandemic include New York, Washington State, and California. Many of these deaths have taken place in nursing homes, cruise ships, and other locations where a large population density is combined with an elderly or immunocompromised population. This has led many people to wonder whether or not they can file a lawsuit against an entity, such as a cruise ship line, for coronavirus infections.
First, it is important to note that there are two separate points that have to be proven in any personal injury case, including those that have to do with the novel coronavirus. First, someone has to be able to prove that he or she has suffered financial, physical, or emotional harm due to an injury or illness. In this case, it would be the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, the plaintiff has to be able to prove that the defendant was responsible for this infection either through action or inaction. Therefore, a personal injury case involving the COVID-19 pandemic would have to prove that the defendant (the cruise line) did not take all reasonable measures to protect passengers and staff from the pandemic. The plaintiff would also have to show that, if the cruise line took other measures, infections could have been prevented.
This has sparked many people to ask what the term “reasonable measures” would include. If passengers were told to stay on the ship when they could have gotten off, did this unnecessarily expose them to the virus? Did the cruise line run out of hygiene products that could have kept people safe? Were their cooking practices following the best practices set by the industry? According to Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers, “it is important to understand your legal right to pursue financial compensation to replace your lost wages and for your pain and suffering,” including problems that might be caused by an infection with COVID-19. There isn’t a precedent for these cases; however, these would be some of the most important questions that people would need to ask.
Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, how the health system is going to keep people safe, and how the country is going to deal with the economic fallout. During this time, it is important for everyone to do everything they can to keep themselves, their loved ones, and the general public safe from harm. This means businesses need to take all reasonable measures to avoid unnecessarily exposing someone to the spread of this virus.