The coronavirus pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives. We are all faced with challenges that we have never before confronted, and we must find answers to questions that did not exist until early this year. The law is no different.
Personal Injury Claims Against Employers
California had some of the earliest interventions in the United States when it came to shutting down public areas. Governor Newsom was the first to issue a statewide “stay home” order, and several large cities had issued their orders even earlier. These steps were critical toward controlling the spread of coronavirus here in the most highly populated state.
But even during the stay home order, many essential workers had to continue coming into contact with the public daily. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees, retail stockers, postal employees, sanitation workers, and others were at risk of contracting the coronavirus by merely going to work every day. The federal government has created presumptions that make it easier for federal employees to prove they contracted coronavirus on the job – thus making them eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. But other employers might not make it quite so easy to get coverage for coronavirus claims.
As our state and others slowly open back up, more infections will occur. The question of how badly remains to be seen. Workers who are forced to come back to work before it is safe to do so, or are not given adequate safety training, or do not have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from coronavirus might have a personal injury claim against a negligent employer. It is essential to hold employers accountable for taking reasonable steps to protect their workers as the country opens back up under these dangerous conditions.
Medical Malpractice Claims Against Negligent Healthcare Facilities
Our frontline medical workers have made the most significant sacrifices in this challenging time. They sacrifice their health – and that of their families – to help keep all Californians healthy. They have dealt with much uncertainty and conflicting treatment guidelines so that they can take care of all patients as best they can.
Unfortunately, our frontline heroes have not always had the support they deserve throughout this crisis. A lack of PPE has forced many healthcare workers to make heartbreaking decisions. The LA Times reports on the heroic efforts of a nurse in Hollywood after a COVID patient stopped breathing.
Despite the heroic actions of a nurse who ultimately became a martyr, the hospital’s conduct, in this case, was chilling. Staff told the LA Times that N95 masks had been locked up by hospital administrators. Even if the nurse had been able to get through the bureaucracy of obtaining a mask, the time required to get permission and unlock the masks in storage would have cost the patient’s life.
Victims’ Rights For the Intentional Transmission of COVID-19
While there have been many heroes who selflessly put themselves in danger to help others through the pandemic, there have also been terrible stories about people intentionally transmitting COVID-19. Local 12 reports that a Pennsylvania woman deliberately coughed on $35,000 worth of groceries that had to be thrown out.
If you have been the victim of a criminal act, you have rights under the California Victims’ Bill of Rights. These rights include the right to be compensated for costs associated with the criminal act against you. This compensation can be a restitution order that a defendant pays through the criminal court or a claim filed with the victim’s compensation fund. In addition to compensation through the criminal courts, a victim can also file a personal injury claim through the civil court against a negligent defendant.
How Insurance Companies Will Try to Deny Coronavirus Personal Injury Claims
Insurance companies spend millions of dollars to pay as little as they can on as few claims as possible. They hire armies of lawyers to draft insurance policies with loopholes and exclusions. They train claims adjusters to deny claims as often as they can and pay as little as possible to settle the claims that cannot be denied. The insurance company is not your side. It is trying to deny your personal injury claim altogether, or make you a lowball offer to settle your claim.
Because coronavirus is such an unusual situation, insurance companies will likely claim their policies do not cover it. Most policies do not specifically refer to worldwide pandemics. Some, however, have exclusions for mold and bacteria, and insurance companies may try to extend this exclusion to other contagions (like the coronavirus). Insurance companies will also likely try to claim that you cannot prove where you were exposed to the virus (and therefore, cannot prove that their client is at fault for your injuries).
Dealing with insurance company denials will be one of the biggest challenges coronavirus victims face in the coming months. The unprecedented nature of the situation means that insurers will use any excuse to deny all coronavirus claims. Loopholes, exclusions, ambiguous terms, and other legal technicalities will be used as an excuse to deny victims the coverage they are owed. Victims of COVID-19 need their own personal injury lawyers who can fight for the compensation they deserve.
Experienced, Aggressive Personal Injury Lawyers for California Coronavirus Cases
Coronavirus has presented all of us with unique challenges. We will get through these difficult times, but we must work together. Each coronavirus victim has the right to get legal advice from their lawyer about potential legal claims they may have. There are many unknowns, and it is not yet known how the courts will apply existing laws to this new pandemic situation, but it is still vital to protect your legal rights.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Arash Law have over twenty years of experience. We have collected over 200 million dollars for clients in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. Clients across the state trust our accident lawyers to protect their legal rights after an injury. We know how to deal with the unique challenges presented by coronavirus claims. Call (888) 488-1391 to schedule your free consultation with one of the experienced California personal injury attorneys at Arash Law.