Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
COVID-19 has struck fear into the hearts of many, and for good reason. Coronavirus has killed over 100,000 Americans, and with people beginning to return to normal, the death toll could rise. What happens if you are exposed to COVID-19 because someone failed to take the proper steps to protect others? Is this negligence and can they be held liable?
There is currently pressure to offer COVID-19 lawsuit immunity in Ohio, which could limit your options. Learn more about these efforts and your legal rights.
To speak with an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer about your right to recover damages because you or a loved one suffered harm because someone was negligent, contact KNR. Free consults and no upfront costs: 1-800-HURT NOW.
Workers, Students, and Others At Risk
As Ohio reopens and people return to work, one question keeps coming up: “Can an employee sue their employer if they contract COVID-19 on the job?”
Many people believe that a failure to grant immunity to businesses would put companies at unfair risk of lawsuits that could bankrupt them. Others believe that employers’ obligation to their employees is greater than their need for financial gain. Therefore, they should be held liable if workers contract COVID-19.
Students are another group concerned about risks. In particular, student nurses are at serious risk of catching COVID-19 if they are set to go through clinical rotations. Should they be able to sue their school if they fall ill and suffer serious financial loss? Or does the responsibility rest with each student to decide whether or not the risk is worth their degree?
Some Risk is Unavoidable
One fact is true, regardless of which side you fall on: the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is unavoidable in workplaces and schools. No matter how careful each individual is, every interaction with a patient, customer, student, or coworker puts them at risk of falling ill. This is true regardless of how many precautions an employer takes. An employer could follow every CDC-recommended precaution, enforce social distancing, and limit staffing for safety, and employees could still fall ill.
What Would Senate Bill 308 Do?
In Ohio, Senate Bill 308 aims to fix this problem for employers and universities. It would provide immunity for colleges, universities, and all businesses providing services. This would protect institutions from lawsuits arising from risks that simply cannot be eliminated. However, it would still permit lawsuits caused by willful misconduct.
Issues on Both Sides
Those supporting Senate Bill 308 note that failing to provide immunity would seriously impact the state’s nursing shortage in years to come. If schools do not get immunity for nursing students, they would likely be forced to cancel clinical rotations. Nursing students would either have to change career paths or wait until the pandemic passes to get their required hours. As a result, the state would have a massive shortage of entry-level nurses in the next few years, limiting the hiring pool at emergency rooms and urgent care centers.
On the other hand, people worry that providing immunity would remove any incentive for schools and employers to protect employees and students. If they know that they cannot be sued unless an individual can prove willful negligence, why put safety procedures in place that would reduce profits? Limiting or eliminating immunity would essentially require companies to protect those reliant on them for income and career training.
What does this mean for you? This situation is constantly changing, so what is true for a personal injury case today may not be true tomorrow. If you contract COVID-19 on the job or while at school, you may have a personal injury case. However, you won’t know for sure unless you talk to an Ohio personal injury attorney about your unique situation.
Discuss Your Options With KNR
Kisling, Nestico & Redick is here to help if you or a loved one have been exposed to COVID-19 and you’re worried about the potential financial fallout of treatment and recovery. If you believe negligence or willful misconduct led to your illness and want to explore your legal options, contact our team online or call us at 1-800-HURT NOW.
Initial consultations are always free and there is no risk because we are only paid when you recover compensation.