Can I Sue If a Family Member Brought COVID Home from Work? By Tom Foley III on October 15, 2020

Judge’s chambersThe coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on many facets of our lives. Some of the most noticeable effects have taken place in the workforce. While many employees have shifted to working from home, countless others have stayed on-site as essential workers. Unfortunately, this has resulted in numerous workers contracting COVID, and bringing it home to their family.

Across the country, relatives are suing employers because their family members brought COVID home from work. Personal injury attorneys at Foley Law Firm can help individuals from Scranton, PA, Stroudsburg, PA, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and surrounding areas consider their legal right to financial compensation for COVID-related damages stemming from exposure at work.

Employer Liability and Protections Regarding COVID-19 Cases

Several large corporations, including Walmart Inc., Safeway Inc., and Tyson Foods Inc. are already facing lawsuits from relatives who have lost a family member to COVID-19, or suffered damages related to a COVID-19 illness that was contracted at work. 

These lawsuits are setting a precedent that could make many more companies liable for protecting the health and safety of their workers. However, proposed legislation seeks to limit the liability of employers, churches, and schools for coronavirus infections.

The recently proposed Coronavirus Relief Bill seeks to limit employer liability by raising requirements for personal injury lawsuits involving coronavirus infection, set a clear-and-convincing evidence burden of proof, set a cap on punitive damages, and move these types of cases to the federal courts, which are more likely to rule in favor of employers. 

An important exception to these limits are cases involving willful misconduct or grossly negligent behavior. If an employee contracts coronavirus and brings it home to their family as a result of an employer’s misconduct or gross negligence, the employer can likely be held liable for resulting damages.

Examples of Willful Misconduct or Grossly Negligent Behavior

Despite CDC guidelines and local regulations, many employers have failed to take necessary precautions to protect their employees from the coronavirus pandemic. Actions that the court may consider to be willful misconduct or grossly negligent behavior among employers includes:

  • Failure to provide necessary personal protective equipment 
  • Failure to follow stay-at-home orders for non-essential businesses
  • Neglecting to report that an employee tested positive for coronavirus
  • Failing to take appropriate safety measures after an employee tests positive for coronavirus
  • Refusing to take steps to allow for appropriate social distancing

If any of these actions led to an employee contracting coronavirus and bringing it home to their family, they should discuss their legal options with our attorneys.

Damages in a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Case

If there are grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, employees or their family members can sue for the full range of damages related to illness or death. Potential damages in these types of cases include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death damages (including funeral expenses, lost income and/or benefits, and loss of consortium)

Request a Consultation

If you or a family member contracted coronavirus at work, your employer may be liable for resulting damages. To learn more about your legal options, call the Foley Law Firm at (570) 342-8194, or request a consultation online at your earliest convenience.

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Foley Law Firm

The attorneys of the Foley Law Firm provide committed personal injury representation to eastern Pennsylvania. Our firm is proud to be affiliated with prominent organizations, including:

  • Martindale-Hubbell®
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If you are looking for legal representation from a top-rated personal injury law firm in Scranton, call us at (800) 523-6539 or request a consultation online.

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