The coronavirus pandemic has taken the country by storm. It has turned the stock market upside down, massively disrupted global supply chains, and forced a significant portion of the country to shelter in place. It is important because sheltering in place is a source of anxiety and stress for people. While federal officials continue to work feverishly to try to save lives and keep the economy collapsing, many people are wondering whether or not lawsuits are coming next.
With tens of thousands of people having been diagnosed with COVID-19 already, allegations are already starting to fly that businesses should have taken more steps to protect people. Some of the targets include daycare centers, nursing homes, and restaurants. Some of these establishments continue to remain open even in the midst of the worst global pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu, which killed hundreds of millions of people. While individuals and families are looking to see whether or not they have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, businesses are scrambling, trying to figure out whether or not they have insurance policies that will cover the cost of this disruption to their commerce. Even governments are looking to see if there is more they can do to force people to shelter in place.
Even as medical professionals rush to acquired more gowns, gloves, masks, and ventilators, some lawsuits have already been filed. The pilots’ union in the United States had to sue American Airlines just to prevent them from being forced to fly to China by the airline. For those who might not know, China was the first place in which this virus was spotted. Furthermore, the city of Costa Mesa, CA filed a lawsuit against the US Government in an effort to stop passengers who had been quarantined in a cruise ship from disembarking there.
While these lawsuits have already garnered a significant amount of attention, this is only the beginning. While businesses might start to sue each other over missed deadlines and dwindling supplies, there are also concerns that employees are going to file lawsuits against their employers for unnecessarily exposing them to coronavirus. Recently, it was reported that a man had been charged with making “terroristic threats” for intentionally coughing on someone before saying that he had just given that person coronavirus. This resulted in multiple felony charges. Even though this was an incredibly insensitive and dangerous act, it might set the stage for lawsuits in the future.
Right now, it is critical for people to stay safe. Individuals need to follow the guidelines that have been issued by medical professionals, such as the CDC and WHO. It is important to practice social distancing and follow orders to shelter in place, as instructed. Finally, everyone needs to make sure they defend their rights as well. During this challenging time, everyone needs to band together and support one another. The country will heal with time.