Protecting Your Business From COVID Related Lawsuits
COVID, and the current state of the pandemic, can be confusing. One day everything seems to be getting better, with restrictions being lifted, and the next day, there’s a new strain or variant, with new restrictions.
Some of those restrictions may be suggestions by the CDC, and others may be laws that are put in place by state governments—and many of those laws require you to take safety precautions, but many prohibit you from taking other measures.
Stay On Top of Developments
Do you as a business owner need to worry about all of this? Actually, you do, and it is good practice for you to know what the current recommendations actually are.
In Florida, a business can’t be sued by someone who contracts COVID, unless the sick person can show that the business was reckless, or near intentional. These are hardly defined terms, so businesses’ best practices are to stay in compliance with the current recommendations by the CDC.
It’s also worth noting that health care workers were also insulated from liability, but only until 2022. However, that has now changed, and health care providers now have the same protections that other businesses have, until 2023.
Lawsuits for COVID Contraction
Lawsuits against a business that relate to contraction of COVID, must state the facts “with particularity.” In other words, it won’t be enough for someone to say “I went to this business, and got COVID.” The person suing will need to detail the exact things that the business did or did not do, and how and why the victim feels he or she contracted COVID from the business being sued.
COVID-related lawsuits also must be filed within one year, a much shorter time period than with most types of lawsuits.
Do you absolutely have to do what the CDC says, in order to be free from liability for someone contracting COVID? No—there is nothing that says that you can’t still be very careful, and institute proper safety measures, even if they fall a little short of everything the CDC exactly recommends.
However, complying with CDC mandates, is one way to make sure that you will have a solid defense, should you end up getting sued.
Define and Display Policies
Remember that the law will look at your policies and procedures. That means that you should have them written somewhere, or posted somewhere, for employees to see. You are trying to show a court in the future (should you get sued), what your policies were, and the methods you used to put them into place.
You should do your best to enforce these policies. How far you want to go is up to you—you generally can legally fire someone for not following your company or CDC requirements, but you by no means have to do so.
Keep your business safe from lawsuits and liability. Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for help today.