Coronavirus-related Premises Liability Claims
If you are wondering if you have a coronavirus-related premises liability claim, you are not alone. As the pandemic’s reach widens and testing becomes more accessible, the number of individuals and families affected by the spread of the novel coronavirus increases. Essential businesses that remained open during the closures and businesses that recently reopened have a responsibility to make a reasonable effort to comply with health and safety recommendations from federal, state, and local agencies. It is necessary to protect third-party visitors such as customers and non-employees who visit the location.
Do You Have a Valid Corona-virus Premises Liability Claim?
If you have a potential Coronavirus-related premises liability claim, you will likely need to prove the following:
- The Coronavirus Infection Posted an Unreasonable Risk of Harm on the Premises
- The Owner of the Property or Business Was Aware of the Risk of Harm
- The Owner of the Property or Business Did Not Make the Premises Reasonably Safe
- Injury Resulted from the Owners Failure to Act/Maintain Reasonable Levels of Safety on the Premises
TX Premises Liability Cases: Duty of Care to Maintain Premises
In the lone star state, anyone who enters a property with the property owner’s permission or knowledge is owed a duty of care to maintain reasonably safe conditions on-site. The duty of care includes a responsibility to conduct reasonably careful inspects of the location to identify any conditions posing a threat.
Maintaining Premises During Pandemic: Defining the Standard of the Required Duty of Care
Businesses and property owners are expected to identify risks of the virus on-site, issue appropriate warnings, and implement recommended safety measures. As these are unprecedented times, there is no precedent or specific guidance from the court on what defines reasonably safe conditions or a reasonably careful inspection. Still, property owners can expect courts to determine these standards based on regulatory guidance for flattening the curve and containing the spread of the infection. Therefore, it is realistic to expect courts to identify behavior violating government issued guidance and recommendations for containing and minimizing the spread of the virus as “unreasonable.”
Basing Duty of Care Standards Based on Official Guidance & Recommendations:
Many premises owners created policies and procedures designed to comply with current government guidance and recommendations for flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some instituted practices and policies that surpassed the minimum necessary for compliance. Examples of policies and practices that premises owners may put in place to fulfill their duty of care to those who engage on their property include:
- Symptom screenings
- Requiring masks on-site
- Requiring social distancing
- Requiring hand washing
- Installing sanitation stations
- Increasing frequency of high traffic area sanitation
- Posting information emphasizing safety measures and guidance
As many owners attempt to stay current with evolving guidance regarding safety standards, and duty of care, others fail to implement the recommended measures to maintain safe premises and contain the spread of coronavirus. Failing to implement the recommended measures could leave them subject to premises liability claims when visitors, customers, etc. suffer injury after being exposed to the virus on-site.
If you need help identifying objective evidence that you contracted the coronavirus infection at a specific property, please contact our premises liability attorneys at Carrollton’s Hudson Law Firm. We put Personal back into Personal Injury Law.