The COVID pandemic has brought unprecedented implications for businesses. Not only are they struggling with finances and operational challenges, but COVID-related personal injury claims are also becoming a common concern. As a business owner, you may want to know everything about such claims, right from the circumstances that may bring one to the way it has to be handled. The biggest challenge is the lack of awareness as this is a relatively new area in the legal context and no one knows how things will pan out in the future. Here is a guide to help businesses deal with COVID personal injury claims.
Businesses at high risk
With the pandemic spreading at a rapid pace, plaintiffs are suing businesses alleging negligence to protect their employees and customers and prevent the spread of the virus. Nursing homes, airlines, and cruise ships were the first ones to face such lawsuits, while they are getting more common in the retail segment now. Right now, every business is at risk, which means that you must have a strategy in place to prevent the issue in the first place. Lawsuits may come despite the best precautions, considering the nature of the contagion, so it is best to stay one step ahead.
Elements of a COVID claim
Apart from knowing your risk factor, it is important to understand the elements of a valid COVID claim. Whether it is a customer or employee who contracts the virus at your premises, they will have to prove the following:
- Duty – The business had a duty to protect the safety of the victim
- Breach of duty – It failed to take reasonable actions for preventing the spread of the virus
- Causation – The victim contracted the virus because of the failure of the business to exercise reasonable care
- Damages – The victim sustained damages due to the injury, such as medical treatment cost and pain and suffering
While these elements can make the victim entitled to compensation, there are state-specific rules that can safeguard businesses. For example, Mississippi passed a bill to shield businesses against such lawsuits. Still, a personal injury attorney serving Jackson Mississippi can help the victims if they get sick due to a willful or malicious act of the business. Ultimately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule that applies to these claims, which makes them even more complex.
Proving a COVID claim is difficult
Although victims can sue businesses quickly blaming them for the infection at their premises, proving such claims is easier said than done. The virus is highly contagious and tracking its origin is challenging, considering that you cannot see the spread physically. The victim may have contracted it at your premises or anywhere else. Still, the victim has good chances of getting a claim if they can show that your business hasn’t been following the guidelines. So it makes sense to go the extra mile to have all the precautionary measures in place.
This is a tough time for businesses as you can expect a lawsuit to crop up anytime and this is the last thing you would want to face. Prioritizing safety is the key while having the right legal guidance is equally valuable to keep your business safe from the virus.