Are Companies Responsible for Workers Who Get Coronavirus?
Workers are protected by a number of systems in place when they are injured, killed, or become ill on the job. Typically, it’s workers’ compensation coverage that would pay for their medical expenses and lost wages. In other cases, when employers aren’t required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, the employees have the option to sue their employer.
If an employee sues their employer, they are responsible for proving negligence. That is not the case when a workers’ compensation claim is filed. The worker need only prove that the injury happened because of their job or while they were working.
Now, Congress is wondering how they can protect businesses from liability claims concerning the coronavirus. They seem less committed to protecting workers from negligent employers. In this article, we’ll discuss the possibility of immunity that Congress wants to extend to companies and employers and how that might impact employees who contract the coronavirus on the job.
The Meat-Packing Industry is the Prime Example
Tyson Foods is currently facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Texas. Texas is not among the states that require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage. This, however, leaves Tyson and other companies vulnerable to lawsuits. One such lawsuit has already been filed against Tyson.
As lawmakers negotiate over what the new coronavirus stimulus package will look like, one Republican provision would offer broad-scale immunity to companies who face coronavirus lawsuits. On the one hand, lawsuits involving an infectious disease are quite rare. On the other hand, the CDC has imposed several guidelines on businesses to keep their employees and customers safe. Any failure to adhere to these recommendations could be used in a claim of negligence against the company.
By and large, these lawsuits are not frivolous. These are individuals who showed up every day to work their job in unsafe conditions and ended up losing their lives to support their families. There are a number of them spread all across the country. While some of these individuals’ families will receive death benefits from a workers’ compensation policy, others may receive no compensation at all. This would be especially true if workers who were not covered by workers’ comp are prevented from filing lawsuits against their employers.
What are Republicans Asking For Precisely?
Depending on who you ask, Republicans are either offering blanket immunity from coronavirus cases or they are limiting liability in lawsuits. In other words, they are making the bar higher to file a negligence lawsuit against a business whose employee contracts the coronavirus on the job. The latter makes much more sense than the former because workers would risk having no safety net at all and bad actors could take advantage of that by cutting corners on workplace safety. Those in favor of the legislation say that they have no desire to protect bad companies from liability. They simply want the bar for such lawsuits to be higher than it is now.
Talk to a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another person, the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Gillette Law can help you file a lawsuit against the company or person and recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost pay, and pain and suffering. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.