While much remains to be seen about when exactly the lockdowns will end worldwide, there will certainly be no shortage of lawsuits related to coronavirus cropping up anytime soon.
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions may be on their way to loosening in many parts of the United States, but that doesn’t mean that the worst of the virus has passed. Many businesses across the country have suffered from the economic downturn and are now looking to start fresh, now that people are allowed outside of their homes for the foreseeable future. There’s just one problem that may arise: post-COVID-19 lawsuits.
In the early days of COVID-19 hitting the United States, employers may have had leeway in not knowing about problems related to the virus and allowing them to slip under the rug. Four months in, however, there is no excuse, and with the criminal and civil justice systems becoming less restricted each day in many counties, many of these businesses will face lawsuits due to their negligence or neglect during the worst days of the pandemic.
Here is an overview of several types of lawsuits to expect in the coming weeks and months.
Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
One area that will see a huge spike in lawsuits in particular are nursing home neglect and abuse cases. Many families have been quarantined away from their elderly loved ones, unable to visit them due to strict rules enacted to protect the elderly from contracting COVID-19, and this time sequestered in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other retirement communities is just when seniors are most ripe for abuse.
Elderly Man Sitting in a Nursing Home; image courtesy of Thomas Bjørkan via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/
Without the ability to see their families face-to-face or communicate their complaints, this abuse may have gone on for much longer than it should’ve, leading to life-altering injuries and even fatalities. Because lockdown restrictions are at their end, the ability to communicate will open back up and hopefully put these elder abusers behind bars.
Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death
With so many people going to the hospital for respiratory complications due to COVID-19, there are bound to be a few patients that slip through the cracks. When that happens, it can lead to catastrophic injuries, life-altering diagnoses, and even death in some cases.
While it’s understandable that medical and healthcare workers will make mistakes given the amount of pressure they’ve been under for so many months, medical malpractice is a serious offense that can lead to someone losing their license to practice. For many heartbroken families, the end of quarantine will give them the push they need to file suit.
One type of lawsuit that is likely to appear in the future are lawsuits targeting employers and businesses for not following safety guidelines, not protecting their staff when an outbreak occurred, or even for wrongful deaths that are due to COVID-19 activity. One heartbreaking story that emerged told of a Wal-Mart employee who was shot for asking a customer to wear a mask before entering the store. The family of the deceased employee sued the company for wrongful death, and this will not be the only lawsuit targeting a large corporation.
The Future of Coronavirus Lawsuits
While much remains to be seen about when exactly the lockdowns will end worldwide, there will certainly be no shortage of lawsuits related to coronavirus cropping up anytime soon. Businesses and legal practitioners should keep an eye out for potential issues due to COVID-19 to assist them in making better decisions going forward.