The very worst of us will always try to take advantage of a bad situation. In this scenario, we can expect many people to try to file personal injury lawsuits against other people for purposely infecting them. Most of these lawsuits will be frivolous and without basis or merit. Personal injury lawyers will be quick to dismiss them before any judge has the opportunity to see their time wasted. A few will be reasonable requests for compensation by people who were genuinely wronged during this time of crisis.
But proving those cases will be extremely difficult.
One reason is because actually finding proof that a person caused your infection is next to impossible. On top of that, you’ll need to find proof that the person not only caused your infection, but did so through gross negligence or voluntary action. If someone coughs in your face while laughing at you in a public place when you’re on camera and you start to feel sick with coronavirus symptoms a week later, then great — you have a strong case.
But that scenario is unlikely and will most likely be a rare aberration during the upcoming weeks and months. That’s why there’s very little reason to worry over a rise in coronavirus-related personal injury lawsuits. No one’s interested.
We might expect to see coronavirus-related lawsuits that are unrelated to person-to-person transmission, though. Companies might be sued for failing to provide paid (or even unpaid) sick leave despite the viral outbreak. Others might be sued for failing to provide employees with personal protective gear like gloves and masks. These lawsuits are probably coming. Think you might have a case? You should get in touch with a lawyer right away.
Otherwise, you should try to prevent lawsuits by trying to understand this outbreak as best you can and avoid situations in which you might easily infect — or become infected by — another person.
Scientists are not quite certain how the virus spreads. That sounds crazy, but it’s the truth. They know that you should wash your hands with soap and water, disinfect surfaces, and socially distance yourself from friends and family, but the virus is far more contagious than the seasonal flu — and that means we still have a lot of learning to do.
The virus is also far deadlier than the seasonal flu. But because of how contagious it is, we can expect the number of deaths to be higher than the base fatality percentage might suggest. Keep yourself safe by staying inside!