While the spread of Coronavirus, (the cause of Covid-19) is a worldwide pandemic with causes far superseding the actions of any individual or organization, there can be localized breaches in duty owed by some individuals or organizations to individual citizens that can give rise to legal action once the virus is contracted and harm results.
Duty is legally imposed upon certain individuals and organizations simply by virtue of the individual or organization assuming a specific position. To illustrate, consider a paramedic employed to respond in a mobile ambulance to a person who expresses a medical emergency by calling 911.
If a paramedic observes a patient who is the subject of a 911 response and who is bleeding profusely, then that paramedic has an affirmative duty to ameliorate the bleeding in an effort to save the patient’s life. If the responding paramedic observes and ignores the bleeding, and the patient dies as the result of the paramedic’s failure to take reasonable, industry-established, and practically available measures to stop the bleeding, then that paramedic can be shown to have breached a duty to the patient.
In short, duty calls for specific action in specific situations, and the failure to act constitutes an affirmative act, in the same sense that a malicious act creates harm. This means that that a passive act (doing nothing) is the same as an active one with respect to duty, once harm occurs.
Further, when an employee acts within the scope of his employment in such a way as to breach a duty of care, and harm results, then the organization that employs that breaching employee bears liability for that breaching employee’s actions, or failure to act. This means that the organization is responsible for the individual employee’s behavior.
In the medical field, as with any other field of expertise or public service, certain practices are established as industry standards. Organizations that operate public buildings or utility vehicles, for example, must utilize established measures to keep their facilities sanitary in times of pandemic like the current one.
This involves cleaning any surfaces in buildings or vehicles that are physically touched by multiple persons, and requires regular intervals of cleaning so as to minimize the exposure among people from one use to another.
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If you or a loved one has contracted Coronavirus as the result of the failure of a medical practitioner, hospital, or government body to take reasonable and established measures to prevent your illness from occurring, seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who has expertise and skill in recognizing and proving the breach in duty by responsible parties that resulted in your harm.
You might be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and many other components of recovery in a personal injury suit. Contact us today to get a free consultation.