This episode covers COVID-19 liability. As an employer recovering from shutdowns in your area, you may be in danger of getting a consumer or employment complaint from their potentially getting sick in your office or store. The liability shield for these situations is a major part of the discussion for the proposed stimulus bill because there is a major concern that, without it, many businesses will become vulnerable to legal troubles once they reopen.
Since the federal government has not yet acted, many states have come in and put their own liability shields in place. Hunton Andrews Kurth’s COVID-19 Complaint Tracker tracks by state and type. Of the 4,280 complaints filed as of August 13, most (around 1,000) are related to insurance claims, malpractice suits, civil rights cases, and government taking.
The key cases to be covered by the liability shield proposed by Congress are called “consumer cases”. These include personal injury, price gouging, product liability, recurring membership fees charged during a shutdown, and wrongful deaths. Through the tracker, it was found that only a few of the aforementioned 4,280 cases are actually related to consumer cases.
Nevertheless, many states have taken action to blunt the risk that businesses will be held liable for COVID-19-related injuries.
Take the time to examine the CDC guidelines for businesses and employers and make sure that they are being followed, as they do provide extreme protection in the case of a lawsuit.