COVID-19, also known as the “coronavirus,” has completely disrupted life as we know it. State and local governments have imposed wide-reaching emergency measures including shelter-in-place, self-quarantines, limits on businesses and other measures to prevent the spread.
In many locales, individuals are required to wear facemasks in an attempt to prevent person-to-person transmission while shopping for essentials. Recreational venues such as concert halls, bars, and movie theaters have been closed indefinitely in multiple cities while state and local governments implement emergency powers for the public health.While the majority of the population has taken to wearing masks, some who object to these governmental mandates. Challenging these emergency powers, some people simply refuse to wear them in public, even in areas where masks are mandatory.So what does this mean if you or one of your family members becomes ill as a result of exposure to COVID-19?
Deliberate Infection Or Failing To Protect
The definition of “negligence” is the deliberate harm inflicted onto another person. Everyone has a duty of care and to avoid being negligent. Spreading an infection such as COVID-19 is a breach of that duty, whether it’s failing to wear a mask, practice social distancing, or knowingly exposing others to the virus.Businesses and governmental offices are required to take specific precautions to protect visitors, vendors and employees from possible infection. Many local governments are restricting group gatherings such as parties, and requiring masks. Kansas City has a website with complete information for both individuals and businesses about local rules and mandates.Should a local business fail to take these measures, a negligence lawsuit may be possible. Individuals who don’t wear masks and fail to protect others from infection could also find themselves with the potential for a lawsuit in addition to fines and misdemeanor charges.
Filing A Lawsuit
Although it is possible to sue someone over COVID-19 infection, it may not be probable, because there are a few factors involved in any type of lawsuit.The first step is to prove the aforementioned negligence. Because everyone has a duty to help prevent the spread, someone who knowingly has the coronavirus has a duty to self-quarantine, wear a mask and practice social distancing when in public. Anyone who does not is breaching this duty and not exercising care, or acting in a negligent fashion. The reasonable person who knows they are infected would comply with this duty, staying at home and not going out unless absolutely necessary.In addition to proving this negligence, you as a plaintiff would also be required to prove causation, or proving that the individual was responsible for your infection. Because compiling evidence of this act of infection would be very difficult to find, it may be impossible to prove causation. Infection in a public place, such as a grocery or big-box discount store, can come from any number of individuals in the facility at any given point.The next step—if you can prove this causation—is to show that your were harmed so seriously that hospitalization was necessary. Many people infected with COVID-19 and have milder symptoms do not go to a hospital. They stay at home until the illness passes, as with a case of the flu. In that case, there wouldn’t be anything to recover after paying the expenses of filing a lawsuit.
Kansas City’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm
Do you believe you were infected with COVID-19 through the negligence of another? Talk to us before you do anything.Contact The Popham Law Firm. Call us at (816) 221-2288 today or use our contact form. We’ll schedule an appointment and talk with you about how we can help.