Possible Premises Liability Claims Due to COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has changed our way of life in many ways. Millions have lost their jobs. Schools have shut down. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands have died and more than 5 million people have contracted the disease.
As all 50 states have started to reopen after residents were forced to shelter in place for two months, business owners have concerns. What special procedures will they need to enforce? How will they train employees? What happens if a customer contracts COVID-19?
Business owners have to think about premises liability issues all the time, and being prepared for potential incidents should be a primary concern, especially now. This concern, however, may prevent businesses from reopening. Business owners and employees may not feel confident in their abilities to keep the coronavirus at bay.
While proving the source of coronavirus can be a challenge, government agencies are still looking for ways to assess and limit liability. Health care workers in New York, for example, are protected against medical malpractice, so they can only be sued if they engage in gross negligence. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and other essential businesses may ask for the same type of protection so they can continue business operations with peace of mind.
Under premises liability law, business owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care in making its premises safe for customers. Therefore, they must be proactive and engage in measures that protect employees and customers while limiting the spread of coronavirus. This means it won’t be business as usual. There will likely need to be many changes to current business practices. You may even have to redesign your business to practice social distancing and cleanliness. For example, you may need to put up partitions, reconfigure workstations, create new paths or limit the number of customers inside the building at one time.
Business owners will need to comply with requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as public health regulations. This means preventing infection through frequent hand washing, disinfecting tables, wearing masks and making employees stay home when ill. Some employers also require the use of hand sanitizer and even perform temperature checks on employees and customers.
All employees should be properly trained on COVID-19 protections, such as hand washing, frequent cleaning and disinfecting, not touching their face, practicing social distancing and avoiding touching personal items such as phones. Employees should also wear masks. You could require customers to wear them as well. This will depend on the nature of your business.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Premises Liability Claim
If you have been injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence, you may be able to file a claim for damages. The same applies if you contract a disease such as COVID-19 through a business’ negligence. You may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Contact the Tampa premises liability attorneys at the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group for help with your premises liability claim. Don’t settle for less from the insurance company. Fill out the online form or contact us at 813-242-4404 to schedule a free consultation.