This article will ask and answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to Covid-19 and related lawsuits in Las Vegas.
How many people died of Covid-19 in Las Vegas?
By June of 2021, when the vaccine had been available to the general public for several months, the death count in Clark County from Covid-19 stood at 4,435 deaths.
Are any of these deaths the result of negligence?
The number of Covid-19 deaths due to negligence is currently undocumented. Evidence of negligence would mean one of three situations:
- The Covid patient was infected with Covid-19 due to negligence
- The Covid patient received substandard medical care by negligence
- The Covid patient was infected under a preventable circumstance
It would be logical to assume that at least a small percentage of the Covid-19 deaths in Las Vegas were due to negligent circumstances.
Are there any legal precedents dealing with wrongful deaths or personal injury resulting from an infectious disease?
Yes, there are many legal precedents going back decades and centuries. A brief outline of this fascinating and complex topic can be found here in a report compiled by the American Bar Association.
Legal cases involving HIV and AIDS interested the general population in the years when the epidemic was at its highest. In the case of AIDS or any sexually transmitted disease (STD), a defendant is culpable for infecting another person if s/he has sexual intercourse with a victim without disclosing the risk. Some states even allow attempted murder charges for such behavior.
Although Covid-19 is not an STD, the legal precedents involving infectious disease are the same for Covid-19 as for any infectious disease.
What are some scenarios involving Covid-19 and legal negligence?
You may have a personal injury (or wrongful death) case if you have reasonable suspicion that your loved one was infected with Covid-19 in a specific location or under a specific set of preventable circumstances. If that infection can be pinpointed to one negligent situation, then the person or organization responsible for that situation may be culpable for the resulting harm.
For example, you may have a case if:
- You stayed in a hotel or Airbnb where coronavirus was present.
- You are a health care worker who was required to appear at work but offered inadequate protection by the employer.
- You were in a customer-facing role at work when an angry customer deliberately coughed on you or exposed you to coronavirus.
- You were pressured or required by your supervisor to work without a mask or other forms of personal protection
- You worked in a location such as a rest home or a school where coronavirus was present and known to the authorities, but the authorities who knew about the specific risk did not pass this information on to employees or customers.
There are many other possible and likely situations where negligence contributed to a Covid-19 infection.
In one highly publicized case, several workers and their family members in New York brought a Covid-related case against Amazon. The plaintiffs alleged that Amazon failed to implement state-mandated safety measures in a large Staten Island warehouse facility. They alleged that they were not given time to wash their hands, that they were required to touch items that had been handled by other employees, that they were not allowed to practice social distancing at work, and that they were pressured to disregard federal and state guidelines around self-isolating after exposure. The workers alleged that employees who had tested positive for Covid-19 were not given two weeks of paid leave, as required by New York law.
As a result of these public safety lapses, at least one employee died of Covid-19, and several others fell severely ill. In addition, countless New Yorkers were exposed to potential infections as these warehouse workers commuted to and from their shifts.
If I contracted Covid-19 at work, should I file a lawsuit or apply for worker’s compensation?
A personal injury lawyer is trained to offer advice about whether you’d be better off bringing a lawsuit against your employee, suing for damages in a civil court, or pursuing a worker’s compensation claim.
The worker’s compensation claim, the most accessible of these three options, is an administrative action brought before a state agency seeking limited compensation for work-related injuries. The worker’s compensation claim has specific advantages and disadvantages when compared to a traditional lawsuit:
Advantages of a worker’s compensation claim:
● An infected employee does not need to prove that the employer was at fault. This can save a great deal of time in resolving the case as well as money in attorney’s fees. In a worker’s compensation claim, all you must show is that you became infected or injured at work.
Advantages of a lawsuit:
● An infected employee can seek full, fair, and just compensation for all damages and losses associated with the disease. In a worker’s compensation case, you will likely receive more limited compensation as dictated by Nevada’s statutes.
How could a personal injury lawyer help me?
A personal injury lawyer can assist you in filing a coronavirus-related lawsuit. These attorneys are well-versed in everything from car accidents to dog bites to traumatic brain injuries to illness resulting from the negligence of others.
Your lawyer will help you identify possible negligence in your situation, calculate the compensation you may be entitled to, and complete all the paperwork associated with filing and completing a lawsuit in court. A personal injury lawyer will also advise you in negotiations in the situation that your case is settled out of court.