Employer Sued for COVID Death in Groundbreaking California Lawsuit
Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been incredibly difficult for employees to sue their employers for COVID-19-related injuries. In fact, it has proven almost impossible for anyone to file a COVID-19-related lawsuit for any reason whatsoever. That all appears to be changing, as a California employee has been allowed to move forward with her COVID-19 lawsuit. She is suing her employer for the death of her husband, and she believes that she contracted COVID-19 from her workplace before transmitting it to her deceased spouse. She claims that her husband died because of this workplace infection.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, it is extremely important to work with a personal injury attorney in San Francisco. As we have already mentioned, these lawsuits are extremely challenging for plaintiffs, and they are often dismissed. In order to approach this situation in the most efficient, confident manner possible, you will need to create a solid game plan alongside your attorney. A committed lawyer can help you gather evidence, negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary. One thing’s for sure: This lawsuit is a positive sign for all of those who have been injured by COVID-19, and lawsuits might be more plausible than we initially thought.
The Lawsuit Explained
On December 22nd, it was reported that an employee of See’s Candies would be allowed to pursue a direct lawsuit against her employer for the death of her husband. A state appeals court ruled that her employer must face the lawsuit directly, and the plaintiff will not need to go through workers’ compensation.
Back in 2019, the plaintiff and her three daughters sued See’s, claiming that the employer did not do enough to ensure worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The question then became whether or not the plaintiff’s husband’s eventual death was “derivative” of a workplace injury. Understandably, See’s attempted to argue that this was the case. Initially, courts ruled in See’s favor – mirroring similar COVID-19 lawsuits that have been filed throughout the pandemic. This lawsuit is notable because it is the first known example of an employee suing an employer directly for a COVID-19 injury.
But in 2021, the Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that the death of the husband was not derivative of his wife’s workplace injury. Instead, the court found that his wife simply acted as a “conduit” for the virus, and that the injury was caused directly by COVID-19. To back up this assertion, the court cited an earlier decision made by a federal appeals court over a hepatitis infection.
The Distinction Between a Lawsuit and Workers’ Compensation
Part of the reason this case is so important is due to the distinction between workers’ compensation and a normal personal injury lawsuit. Because the See’s Candies employee is able to sue her employer directly, she can recover compensation for a wider range of possible damages. When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you are normally limited in terms of compensation – especially when it comes to non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are things like PTSD, anxiety, or pain and suffering.
In the aforementioned lawsuit, the plaintiff will probably claim “loss of consortium” for the death of her husband. This is only possible with a wrongful death lawsuit, and it provides victims with compensation for the loss of their partners. In other words, filing a wrongful death lawsuit directly against an employer is much more rewarding compared to a normal workers’ compensation claim.
Why is it So Difficult to Win COVID-19 Lawsuits?
In the past, plaintiffs have faced considerable challenges when pursuing COVID-19 lawsuits. To put it simply, it is difficult to prove when and how people become infected with COVID-19. Faced with these accusations, workplaces can simply state that the infection occurred at some other time and place. The plaintiff then has no real way to prove that the infection occurred at the workplace and during working hours. Because COVID-19 is highly transmissible, you might have been infected on the way to work, during lunch with friends, or in a variety of other scenarios. There is almost no way to know for sure.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the San Francisco area for an experienced personal injury attorney, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. With our help, you can strive for the best possible outcome if you have been injured by a preventable COVID-19 infection in the past. This virus can lead to permanent health issues, and you should have the opportunity to take action against negligent parties. This latest lawsuit shows us that this type of legal action is possible, and it may create a precedent for future lawsuits. If you would like to explore your options, book a consultation today. We will help you fight for your rights in a confident, effective manner.