COVID-19 And Premises Liability Risks

man wearing a protective mask checking out at grocery store

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. We’re learning new things about how the virus works almost every day, and the legal implications of its transmission are not yet clear. The personal injury lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad are always doing research and keeping up with the latest news about how the law may affect COVID-19 liability.

Whether you’re a business owner, an employee, customer, or visitor to a property, it’s important to know that there is potential for negligence arguments, especially when it comes to premises liability.

Property Owners Must Take Steps To Avoid COVID-19 Liability

As businesses begin to open, it’s vital for landlords and business owners to implement and follow state-mandated and CDC standards to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It’s essential not only to protect themselves from COVID-19 liability, but to protect the health of their neighbors, friends, families, patrons, and communities.

These rules and safety measures are ever-changing and staying up to date can help you protect yourself, your employees, and others. Pennsylvania updates COVID-19 guidance for businesses frequently and outlines specifics for the reopening process of your county. Checking local guidelines can help to ensure you’re doing everything by the book, which can reduce your chances of COVID-19 liability.

COVID-19 Liability And The Law

Some states have already passed legislation that limits liability for COVID-19 infection. Some members of the United States Congress are trying to enact COVID-19 liability protections for businesses and employers. Although there are rare cases in which premises liability claims involving the transmission of infectious diseases have been successful, suing an employer or company because you believe their negligence caused you to contract the coronavirus is challenging.

If you’re considering bringing such a claim, it’s critical to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in handling a wide range of premises liability cases.

Challenges Involved In Bringing A COVID-19 Premises Liability Lawsuit

As stated above, using public health guidance to mitigate the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus is critical for everyone in every community. If you believe you have contracted COVID-19 due to someone else’s negligence, you may be in for an uphill battle.

Personal injury lawyers are adept at proving liability and negligence. One dispute that a personal injury lawyer can argue is COVID-19 is a dangerous and unsafe condition in an establishment, and the business owner did not exercise reasonable care to protect their customers or employees from exposure to the disease. 

Part of the reason these cases are challenging is that it’s difficult to pinpoint precisely where someone contracted the coronavirus. In addition, there are thousands of types of businesses required to follow different COVID safety rules specific to their industry.

Proving COVID-19 Liability

Although COVID-19 liability is a new area of the law, common negligence theory may apply. For example, if a business doesn’t properly clean and disinfect, enforce social distancing and mask mandates, or permits employees to remain at work when ill, they may have breached a general standard of care.

This is especially true in nursing homes that have become hot spots for the coronavirus, which has led to thousands of people becoming ill or dying. Unlike patrons who visit businesses, most people in nursing homes don’t go out, so there’s no other location in which they may have contracted the disease. In these types of scenarios, proving negligence in a premise’s liability claim may be possible.

How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you think that you or a loved one was exposed to COVID-19 due to negligence, a personal injury lawyer can assess your case and advise you on whether your claim is worth pursuing. Those who have lost loved ones to this horrible disease may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent party that failed to follow proper protocol to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A skilled and compassionate personal injury attorney can provide legal counsel, support you and your family through these tough times, and help hold responsible parties accountable.

Contact Us

The team at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, is dedicated to serving our communities by providing the legal representation you can trust in these uncertain times. If you have questions about COVID-19 liability, contact us online or call our Bethlehem office at 610-867-2900. You can also contact us at our offices in ToptonAllentown, or Stroudsburg, PA.

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