The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people do things, including how they travel. It’s now expected that hotels boost their cleaning procedures in order to help create a safe environment for their guests.
COVID-19 numbers are continuing to rise in Florida and there’s an inherent risk of getting sick if you plan to travel there. For those who decide to go and end up contracting coronavirus, then what are your options?
Premises liability can be a tough case to prove, especially amidst a known pandemic, so here’s what you need to know to help protect yourself from negligence.
The Coronavirus: When a Business May Be Liable
In a very general sense, all businesses have the legal duty to maintain safe spaces for customers and staff. In different industries that means different things, but when you think about the coronavirus, these measures generally include:
- Not allowing sick employees to come to work
- Providing employees with equipment to properly sanitize the premises and promote appropriate hygiene such as handwashing
- Communicate the appropriate protocols to the staff so they know what to do if they experience COVID-19 symptoms
A business can be held liable if they fail to take certain steps. These include:
- Having processes in place to help prevent the spread of the virus
- Keep any employees who are symptomatic away from anywhere they’ll come into contact with others
- Screen people for COVID-19 symptoms when necessary
Reducing Your Risk
When you’re traveling and staying in a hotel, it’s important to also do your part to reduce your chances of contracting the virus. You should:
Understand the Symptoms
If you experience things such as shortness of breath, fever, and a cough, then separate yourselves from others and get tested.
Cover When Possible
If you will be someplace with large crowds, wear a face mask. You should also wear a mask if you have symptoms or are caring for someone with the virus.
Wash Hands Frequently
Make sure to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. When you cough or sneeze, make sure to cover your mouth with your elbow.
Premises Liability: How to Prove Coronavirus Due to Negligence
If you do all you can to avoid the virus but still feel you contracted it at a hotel, then a few things will need to be established to prove it.
You must establish:
The Party at Fault was in Control of the Property
This is the first element of a premises liability claim, that the party who was responsible for your injury (contracting the virus) owned the property where it occurred. This is the at-fault party who was in the position to control and maintain the property, fixing any hazards that may exist on the premises.
The Owner of the Property was Negligent
Once it is established who was in control of the property, then it’s next important to establish they were negligent in their maintenance of the property. In order to successfully pursue a premises liability case, it must be proved that the owner failed to uphold their obligations to take any reasonable measures to ensure everyone’s safety.
The Negligence Caused the Injury
You must also prove that the negligence of the owner caused the injury. This is where evidence comes into play to show that the injury your suffered could not have occurred anywhere else except the property you were staying on. That’s what can make coronavirus cases very difficult to prove since community spread is running rampant.
You may need to gather testimony from witnesses explaining how the property failed to create a safe environment, have photos of the scene that help to support the claim, and medical bills you incurred for treatment.
Travel is uncertain right now, so be careful when traveling and take precautions to stay healthy.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.