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While many Americans have been able to avoid COVID-19 and prevent its transmission by working from home and self-quarantining, others have not had such an opportunity. For those who are harmed by coronavirus due to others’ failures, it may be possible to seek justice through legal action.

What Is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of illness-causing viruses with effects that range in severity from common cold symptoms to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The current coronavirus, known as COVID-19, is a new virus never before seen in humans, and scientists are still trying to understand it.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Severe symptoms that require emergency attention include:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Struggling to breathe
  • Confusion, seeming “out of it”
  • Blue-tinted lips or face¹

Elderly individuals and people with underlying health conditions are at the greatest risk. According to data from China and the U.S., the majority of deaths from COVID-19 have been seen in older adults (roughly 60 years or older).²

Can a Coronavirus Victim Sue for Compensation?

Most people who contract COVID-19 won’t be harmed in a way that necessitates a lawsuit. However, if a victim suffers illness, death, financial losses, or other personal harm as a result of another party’s reckless or negligent actions, they may be able to seek damages.

Possible Lawsuits and Allegations

The following are a few examples of situations in which a lawsuit might be filed, as well as the reasoning and possible allegations involved.

Cruise Ship Injury

white and black cruiser ship

Several cruise ships have been denied port or quarantined in the docks with passengers still aboard. Trips have been cut short, and travelers’ insurance is unlikely to cover losses for trips booked after the point where coronavirus exposure was “foreseeable.”³ Lawsuits may allege that cruise lines failed to properly prepare for emergencies or do everything they could to help them disembark, exposing passengers to the virus and preventing reasonable treatment.

Employer Negligence

If an employer ignores risks and does not take reasonable action per CDC guidelines, they could be considered negligent if an employee contracts COVID-19 and suffers harm as a result. Allegations could involve things like not limiting employee travel, ignoring CDC-recommended best practices, failing to provide hygiene supplies, or terminating an employee who can’t go to work due to their high risk for life-threatening symptoms.

Medical Malpractice

A healthcare provider could face a medical malpractice lawsuit if their careless actions expose patients to the virus or result in improper treatment. Issues might include things like poor sanitation or hygiene practices, misdiagnosis of symptoms, failure to recognize a medical emergency, or recommending treatments that do further harm.

Explore Your Legal Options with a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve become a victim of coronavirus-related harm as a result of someone else’s actions (or inactions), you may be able to seek compensation. Call the law office of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris today at (713) 364-0723 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm
  3. https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2020/3/4/21163320/travel-flight-insurance-coronavirus-coverage-cancellation

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Jonathan S. Harris and Matthew D. Shaffer are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Other attorneys are not board certified.  Principal office is located in Houston, Texas.