As businesses prepare to reopen and resume operations after the coronavirus pandemic there is another big issue looming. A wave of new lawsuits could be on the way.
Millions of Americans are beginning to return to work at all types of jobs and in many different environments. Some will not feasibly be able to maintain social distancing in their work environments, which in theory, could put them at risk of contracting coronavirus.
What Obligations Do Employers Have to Keep Workers Safe?
The world was not prepared for COVID-19.
- How could employers have predicted or prevented a global pandemic?
- What measures should have been taken in workplaces to keep employees safe?
- What obligations do/did employers have under the law?
- Can workers sue employers because of coronavirus?
Those workers who believe they may have contracted coronavirus at work before and after the closures may have a cause of action against their employers if they believe the employer failed to provide a safe work environment.
Likewise, the families of workers who have died from COVID-19 may file wrongful death claims against employers.
While it is not known how the courts will view the employers’ responsibilities in regard to coronavirus, these lawsuits can be extremely expensive to defend. Smaller businesses could be bankrupt by just one lawsuit, and larger businesses could be crippled by many.
Lawsuits From the Public
Experts say that businesses will not only have to worry about potential lawsuits filed by employees or families of those who died from coronavirus, public citizens may also file a personal injury or join class-action lawsuits against businesses where it is believed that customers or clients of the business were exposed to coronavirus due to unsafe practices.
A Quick Payday?
For many people who file or join a class-action lawsuit, there will be one giant elephant in the room. How do you prove where a COVID-19 infection originated?
In costly litigation, these plaintiffs and their lawyers know that they may never get to the point of having to provide proof.
These cases will be lengthy and extremely expensive to fight. It is assumed that most businesses will be forced to settle with plaintiffs to end the litigation and resume regular business.
In other words, those people who are contacting lawyers to sue businesses over coronavirus infections they may or may not have contracted at a specific place are primarily looking for blood money. A cash settlement. A payday. And they may get just that.