Can You Sue Someone for Infecting You with Coronavirus?
As the U.S. surpassed all other countries in the total number of COVID-19 deaths, Americans keep getting infected with coronavirus across the country at an alarming rate. Many of those who practice social distancing and are trying to shield themselves and their loved ones from the virus are wondering, “Can I sue another person for giving me coronavirus?”
Can You Sue a Person for Infecting You with COVID-19?
The short answer is: Yes, you can. However, it would be difficult to win a personal injury lawsuit against another person who might have spread COVID-19 to you. Particularly, it would be difficult – and, in some cases, close to impossible – to prove that you contracted coronavirus from the defendant, not someone else.
Given the high contagiousness of COVID-19 and the rapid spread of the virus, proving that the defendant was the one who infected you with coronavirus would be tricky. However, doing so may be possible in limited circumstances, especially if the plaintiff has a preponderance of the evidence to prove that the defendant exposed him or her to COVID-19.
When You Can Sue Other People for COVID-19 Infections
What are those “limited circumstances” in which you might be able to prove that one specific person – the defendant – infected you with coronavirus? Here’s a stark example:
Your co-worker “A” keeps showing up for work despite being ill. “A” refuses to wear personal protective equipment (a face mask) at work and keeps coughing. After a few days, your employer informs employees that “A” tested positive for COVID-19 and that he had recently returned from Louisiana.
In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order that requires individuals entering Florida from Louisiana, New York, and New Jersey to self-isolate for 14 days.
In this case, you could sue your employer for failing to perform appropriate health screenings for employees. More importantly, you could also file a personal injury lawsuit against your co-worker for failing to comply with Gov. DeSantis’s order to self-isolate for 14 days following his trip from Louisiana.
Florida law requires four elements to prove a personal injury claim:
- Duty of care (your co-worker owed you a duty of care due to the government’s self-isolation order);
- The duty was breached when the co-worker violated the self-isolation order upon his return from Louisiana);
- The breach caused you harm (you contracted coronavirus because your co-worker violated the order); and
- You suffered damages in the form of medical expenses and lost wages due to your COVID-19 treatment.
The biggest problem with coronavirus-related personal injury lawsuits is proving that the defendant infected you with COVID-19, not someone else. However, if you can prove that the defendant was the only person in your social and work circles who had coronavirus, then you are more likely to win your lawsuit.
In most cases, however, proving that another person’s negligence or carelessness exposed you to COVID-19 will be complicated, especially if you do not have sufficient evidence to prove that you could not have contracted the virus from someone else, somewhere else.
Talk to our Miami personal injury attorneys to determine whether you have a valid case and could actually sue another person for infecting you with coronavirus. Contact Pita Weber Del Prado by calling at 305-670-2889 for a case review.