AT THIS TIME, WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING CASES INVOLVING COVID-19. THIS PAGE IS INTENDED TO EDUCATE YOU ON THE LEGAL ISSUES SURROUNDING THE PANDEMIC.
Coronavirus Updates, Resources, and Legal Issues
During this time of uncertainty, we at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys want you to know that we are here to support you. Just like many of you, we are following CDC guidelines and making sure that our clients, our staff, and our community remain safe and are aware of the legal issues surrounding the pandemic. We understand that many of you have questions about mask and vaccination guidelines, updates on legislation pertaining to COVID-19, and workers’ compensation. That is why we created this resource page to inform you of your legal rights during this time of unease.
Please note that at this time we are not accepting cases that involve COVID-19. But we care about our community and our clients and we want you to be well informed during this time of unease. If you are a business owner looking for assistance with a business interruption insurance claim, click here.
See Also: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
The Legal Issues Surrounding the Vaccine
As we return to normal, many businesses around the nation are faced with new challenges, such as getting people to come back into the office, keeping the office safe, and how to handle mask mandates and the COVID-19 vaccine. Although the debate is still raging on about whether to get the vaccine or not, many industries and educational institutions have created mandates that require employees and students to wear masks and/or get the vaccine or face termination, suspension, and other penalties.
Though many employees and students may feel these policies are unjust, it is legal for businesses and schools to make and enforce these policies. However, there are some limitations, such as those citing religious grounds, workers who are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and if there is a union with a collective bargaining agreement that requires negotiations before a mandate can be put into place. Once again, at this time Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is not accepting cases that involve vaccination and/or mask mandates for schools or businesses.
Visit the Ceneters for Disease Control and Prevention website to learn more about vaccination laws.
Negligence and the Coronavirus
“Negligence” is the failure to exercise reasonable care. As our entire nation works to stop the spread of the coronavirus, those who fail to exercise reasonable care and cause others to become infected may face legal repercussions. For example, if a business manager knew that their employee was sick with the coronavirus and allowed that person to continue interacting with customers, the business could potentially be held responsible if a customer became infected by that employee. In a case such as this, it will be necessary to prove causation, which may be difficult. An attorney would review each unique situation individually to determine causation.
In situations involving large groups of people, or populations who are especially vulnerable, negligence may be a critical factor. For instance, if an assisted living facility fails to implement appropriate protections, elderly residents, who are considered high-risk for developing serious or fatal complications from COVID-19, may be infected and become gravely ill. If you suspect that your loved one suffered or was put in harm’s way by the negligence of nursing home staff, you may be able to take legal action. Your first step should be to report the situation to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services who will do a thorough investigation.
Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19
If you contract the coronavirus from a coworker or a member of the public while performing your job duties, many wonder if it’s possible to file for workers’ compensation. The answer to that question is maybe.
According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, any occupational disease that occurs while on the job is considered an injury, making it eligible for workers’ compensation. If you believe you were exposed to COVID-19 at work or have been diagnosed with the disease and you think it is related to your job, your first step is to inform your employer within 21 days. When informed it is up to the employer and the insurance company to make the decision whether to cover you under workers’ compensation.
Visit the Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation website to learn more about COVID-19-related work injuries.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Insurance Claims
The coronavirus pandemic forced non-essential businesses to temporarily close their doors in response to statewide orders. Many business owners experiencing a loss of revenue amid the closures have turned to their business interruption insurance policies. Business interruption insurance allows a business to recover certain losses in the event that the business suffers damage or is otherwise prevented from operating. However, some insurers are denying the claims and refusing to pay. For those whose policies do not specifically exclude coverage for virus outbreaks, a legal fight may be the only way to get the payment they’re due.
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is currently handling cases involving denied business interruption insurance claims. If you are a business is having issues with your business interruption insurance, please contact us for more information.