Can I File A Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Someone Who Infected Me With Coronavirus In Florida?
COVID-19 continues to spread across America, with thousands of new cases being reported daily in the state of Florida alone. So far, more than 1.9 million positive cases have been reported in the Sunshine State. If you are among the infected, you might be wondering whether you can sue someone for infecting you with COVID-19.
Whether you can sue someone for infecting you with the coronavirus depends on the circumstances that led to the infection. Generally, just like with other personal injury cases, you must prove that the defendant acted negligently, caused your infection, and made you incur damages.
The Four Elements of Negligence
To establish negligence or liability in a personal injury case, you must prove the following four elements.
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Duty of Care
To have a successful personal injury case, you must prove that a defendant owed you a duty of care. When someone owes you a duty of care, they are supposed to act reasonably not to expose you to harm. Florida motorists, for instance, owe other Floridians a duty of care. Florida motorists are expected to drive responsibly and obey all laws not to cause harm to other motorists, cyclists, passengers, or pedestrians.
When it comes to the duty of care in the context of COVID-19, infected Floridians are expected to take necessary precautions not to expose other Floridians to infections. An infected person should, for instance, wear a mask, exercise social distancing, or self-isolate.
Breach of Duty
After establishing that the defendant owed you a duty of care, you need to prove that they breached the duty. Generally, you must prove that a defendant breached the duty by acting negligently. For example, you can prove breach of duty in a COVID-19 situation if someone who was asked to self-isolate after testing positive failed to do so.
Causation involves proving a defendant’s breach of duty caused a plaintiff to suffer injuries. In the case of COVID-19, to prove causation, you’d need to show that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of your infection. You’d need to prove that that specific person gave you the virus.
Lastly, in any personal injury case, you must prove damages for you to receive any compensation. In a COVID-19 case, you must prove that the infection caused damages such as medical costs, lost wages, among others.
Why Proving a Coronavirus Case Can Be Challenging
Proving negligence in a COVID-19 case can be challenging because many people infected with the virus are asymptomatic. Therefore, if the person you believe infected you with the virus was asymptomatic, they might have passed on the virus to you unknowingly. You might be unable to prove a breach of duty in such a situation since the defendant most likely didn’t know they were infected.
Proving causation can also be tricky in a coronavirus case. Considering how widespread the virus is, it can be challenging to prove that one specific individual infected you with the virus because you have probably interacted with many COVID-19 positive people in different locations.
Contributory Fault in COVID-19 Personal Injury Cases
Contributory fault is one thing you need to keep in mind once you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit for COVID-19. Even if you can prove that one specific person gave you the virus, the defendant can claim that you are also to blame for your infection. Everyone is expected to wear a mask, social distance, and take every other necessary precaution to protect themselves from the virus. Therefore, if, for instance, the defendant proves you were not wearing a mask at the time when you claim to have been infected, your compensation may reduce by your percentage of fault.
Is It Possible To Have a Successful Coronavirus Lawsuit?
A coronavirus lawsuit can be frustrating, mainly because it can be challenging to prove that one specific person caused your infection. With people always touching their faces, failing to wear masks, and wash their hands, it can be challenging to prove negligence on the defendant’s side. Unfortunately, because of how difficult it can be to prove negligence, you might end up spending a lot on an unsuccessful lawsuit.
However, even though proving negligence in a COVID-19 situation can be difficult, it is possible to have a successful case. If you have enough evidence to support your claim, you can file a successful claim and receive compensation.
Contact a Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney Today
You should speak to a qualified personal injury attorney to determine whether you should pursue a coronavirus lawsuit. Contact a Fort Myers personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., today on 239-649-8050 to determine if you have a valid case.