Can A Contractor Or Subcontractor Sue Me When I Come To Work With Coronavirus?

Over the last several months, we’ve received a large number of inquiries from construction workers, subcontractors, and contractors who are worried about the possibility of civil litigation if it is determined that they were patient zero after a workplace outbreak. While we understand these concerns, it is important to understand that the liabilities of an employee or other individual at a workplace are complex — and much of someone’s ability to sue another person depends entirely on the situation, each of which is likely unique.

What does that mean? For the most part, it means don’t worry too much. Take necessary precautions that we know limit the spread of coronavirus. Wash hands often, avoid close contact with coworkers, wear a mask, etc. Taking these basic steps can greatly reduce the opportunity for someone else to sue you for negligence — because you can easily prove that you were doing your best to stay safe and healthy.

For an individual to have any shot at a lawsuit, they need a qualified work accident lawyer who can prove that someone’s negligence led to a specific outbreak. This is extremely difficult. Truth be told, the onus is mostly on the contractor, boss, or whoever else is in charge at a specific construction site. 

For example, if an employer were to ask or require you to remove your mask while you work, then they are absolutely liable for any health-related consequences of a workplace outbreak. That’s because we know that the science says wearing masks helps greatly reduce the spread of the virus.

For the moment, other workplace hazards are still far more dangerous for the average construction workers. These include physical injuries like lacerations, burns, broken bones, head, neck, and back injuries, and even the loss of a limb. However, heart attack and stroke are common at construction sites when an employee is over the age of 55 — and we know that coronavirus and the resulting disease COVID-19 are far more dangerous when an underlying condition like heart disease is already present.

That means you should also visit your healthcare provider to discuss the risks of coronavirus at your workplace, how you can mitigate those risks, and exactly what you should do if you suspect you might be sick. 

One thing is for sure: this is not the time to go to work while sick. Doing so can mean legal action later, justified or not, and can also put others at risk. It’s not worth the risk!

The CDC recommends that construction workers take the same basic precautions as anyone else when at work during the pandemic. If you feel symptomatic at work, notify your supervisor immediately. Go home and do not return to the workplace until a healthcare provider can clear you to work again depending on state and local procedures. 

Do not share tools unless absolutely necessary, and attempt to disinfect those tools on a routine basis. Your supervisor should already have outlined procedures for making sure that shared items are kept clean. Employees should also make themselves aware of the CDC’s guidance regulations for employers.

Can I Sue After Being Kicked Off My Insurance During The Coronavirus Outbreak

The world is in dire straits, and while the pandemic shows some of the best of humanity’s qualities — it also shows some of the worst. Our law firm has been flooded with inquiries relating to coronavirus and health insurance. Most of those who have questions have, for one reason or another, lost health coverage due to this crisis. Whether or not litigation is the right path forward depends on exactly what happened.

If you are currently employed and coverage was affected by the coronavirus outbreak, you might have a solid case. After all, coronavirus is the biggest reason we need good healthcare right now. It shouldn’t also be the reason we lack it. And insurance providers can’t just change the rules of the game when a new player enters. Talk to a personal injury attorney for more information.

Most workers who were laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic likely have no legal recourse. But they do have other options to put health coverage into place before it’s too late.

COBRA was built as a way to keep continuing coverage in place after a person loses his or her job, and most laid-off workers will have this option. The problem is that COBRA is almost always very expensive.

Another option is Medicaid. You might seek Medicaid if you are recently unemployed or if your hours have been much reduced. This is a good option, because coronavirus testing is provided at no additional cost. Copayments might depend on where you live. 

The last option exists because of the Affordable Care Act (or ACA). You can sign up for Obamacare soon after losing a job to find coverage when other options aren’t for you. Some levels of coverage in the marketplace are low-quality for what you get, and even with subsidies, the coverage can still be quite expensive in relation to what you’re accustomed to paying.

Can I Sue My Boss If Infected With The Coronavirus At Work?

Coronavirus-related lawsuits are almost guaranteed in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Lots of them. Not just because many will be justified, but because the global pandemic has slammed us with a great economic and personal cost, and many of us will be looking to become whole again once most of the danger has passed. That means placing blame on those who allowed the pandemic to become this bad. Placing blame means litigation.

So can you sue your boss if you were infected with the novel coronavirus at work?

Probably not. More than likely, you would have to prove that it was your boss’s negligent actions that resulted in the spread of the virus. That’s almost impossible to prove in most workplaces around the country.

What cases will hold the most weight in court?

Well, let’s say your boss forces you to work while you’re sick. If you can document the interaction between you and your boss, or you have multiple witnesses who will back up your story, then you have a great case. It becomes an even greater case if you can prove that your boss forced you to work while you were sick with coronavirus or the disease it causes, COVID-19.

You can also try to argue that the lack of sick leave offered at a particular company compelled you to work while you were infected. There’s a weak case there somewhere, but you’ll need to find a personal injury lawyer who believes that you make a compelling victim. Right now, our law firm is not taking on these types of cases — in part because you are partly to blame for spreading the infection causing so much damage, and we don’t believe judges want to hear from you.

Another potential case might be built if you are a worker for an essential business, but your boss did not take the necessary precautions to keep you from becoming infected with the virus. If you work for a restaurant offering takeout, for example, but there are no gloves or masks provided — then you might have a case.

The last possibility involves someone willingly infecting you with the virus. For example, one man filmed himself licking Wal-Mart products while asking “Who’s afraid of the coronavirus?” and was subsequently arrested and charged for making a terrorist threat. If you were infected after someone did something like that, or simply coughed into your face on purpose, then you have the opportunity to build a strong case.

Not sure if you have a case? Then call a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation as soon as possible.

Make Sure You Don’t Ruin Your Personal Injury Lawsuit By Making These Mistakes

Were you physically, emotionally, or financially ruined by another person’s negligence? Or was a larger organization responsible for causing your pain? Sometimes, the actions of some are unconscionable. And when others act in an inappropriate way that causes harm to others, there needs to be some avenue of recompense. You shouldn’t have to be the one who pays. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to go down that road. Even good cases sometimes fail to be heard.

Part of the reason is because you don’t have the knowledge or experience to know what you should or should not do regarding a potential personal injury case. The mistakes you’re most likely to make could be easily prevented — if only you knew how.

First of all, it’s critical to the success of your case that you don’t go it alone. It’s exactly because you lack that knowledge and experience that you need the help of a qualified personal injury attorney. Make more than one or two calls. Sit down with a few attorneys and do some research before making a final decision on who would best represent your interests. Not every attorney is a match for every person’s case. You do you.

Second, time is of the essence. Procrastination is the number one reason that people fail to bring a personal injury case before a judge. Most states have very strict statutes of limitations regarding these kinds of cases, ranging anywhere from one to four years. That gives you only so much time to find an attorney, build your case, and then try to arrange an agreement with the defendant or make the case in court. Don’t delay.

Many victims who would otherwise have a strong case destroy their chances by neglecting to find medical treatment for injuries sustained. You need to see a healthcare professional about injuries immediately. If you don’t seek treatment, then not only could your pain worsen, but you won’t be able to put a dollar amount on what you’re owed — and that means a judge is less likely to hand you a favorable verdict.

After seeking medical treatment, be sure to organize your bills. Don’t lose any of these important documents! Your lawyer will appreciate not having to spend time tracking them down. In addition, keep in mind that settlements might not only include damages for medical bills, but also for future expenses, lost wages, and decreasing earning potential. You might even find that you can be compensated for pain and suffering!

Last but not least, call the police when appropriate. This is especially important when you’ve been in a serious car accident. Your lawyer will find witness testimony and police records extremely helpful when building your case.

Will The Gun Industry Ever Be Held Responsible For Gun Crime?

The short answer is no. You probably saw that coming, but you might not know the reasons why. In the 90s, there was a very successful string of lawsuits aimed at holding the tobacco industry responsible for the mounting health concerns associated with smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products. In the wake of extreme gun violence that began with Columbine and escalated from there, why not hold gun manufacturers, dealers, and distributors responsible as well?

The gun industry is extremely successful. Whether you’re for or against guns and gun protections, those people make a lot of money. Why shouldn’t they set some of it aside for survivors and families of those killed by gun violence? Doesn’t it make sense that if you sell something dangerous, you’re partly responsible for the consequences of the sale? 

In the late 90s, another string of lawsuits tried to hold gun dealers, distributors, and manufacturers accountable. They were unsuccessful. Nearly half had been dismissed before gun advocates successfully put the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) on President George W. Bush’s table, which he subsequently signed within eight months of its writing in 2005. 

The PLCAA resulted in the dismissal of the remaining lawsuits and has been a hindrance to similar lawsuits ever since. Very rarely has a law so uniformly and across the board provided similar protections to a single industry.

Jake Charles, Executive Director of Duke’s Center for Firearms Law, said, “I don’t think in the legal world the PLCAA is looked on as just regular legislation. It does seem designed to protect the gun industry in particular.”

It is extremely difficult to enact new laws restricting firearm sales in a culture where the subject is so controversial. But perhaps what could be done is the implementation of a new law wherein each gun sale is taxed. The money from those taxes could be funneled into a fund that survivors of gun violence of families of those killed by gun violence could pull from. All they would need to do is make a claim.

That might be a better use of resources than allowing thousands of people to file lawsuits that are ultimately designed to fail because of laws already on the books. And while it won’t turn off the faucet or unclog the sink — stop the wave of gun violence, that is — it will help dry up some of the water that’s already spilled onto the floor below. That’s at least a step in the right direction until we figure out what compromises we can make between the two sides of an increasingly volatile and partisan system.

Walmart Razor Blade Allegedly To Blame For Woman’s Injury

Texas resident Silver Taylor launched a premise liability lawsuit against department store behemoth Walmart after a wayward razor cut her hand — repeatedly. The dangerous blade was caught until a shopping cart. You think you’ve heard it all when Walmart is at the heart of a story, but then Taylor’s story comes out of nowhere.

Taylor said, “I had several cuts to my hands and at that point I had lost so much blood I lost consciousness. [I had] large lacerations on my hands. I also hit my head pretty hard and I fell hard on my back.”

One probably wonders whether or not this is a frivolous lawsuit. Pictures of the injury show what appears to be a number of small cuts with dried blood around them. What they certainly don’t show is a traumatic or life-threatening serious injury as the lawsuit or Taylor’s claims seem to imply. Premise liability certainly requires Walmart to pay for Taylor’s medical bills.

“I can’t do normal things,” she says. “So I feel helpless. I didn’t get to make Thanksgiving dinner. That’s not fair. It’s not fair.”

She also says the injuries have affected her ability to do simple tasks such as run errands for her children. “No, I’m not okay,” she continued. “I’m not okay at all. I feel like a failure to my children because I’m such a rock in my household. My tools are broken. My tools are injured. I’m a mom. I’m a wife and I can’t do the smallest things, like open up a refrigerator door.”

Taylor says a settlement in her premise liability lawsuit isn’t enough — she wants an apology. “I’d like an ‘I’m sorry,’” she said. “I’d like Walmart to not treat me as a blanket statement of all their other injuries that have happened in their stores. I’m a human being.”

According to Taylor’s attorney, Brad Wurster, hidden razor blades are a real problem in Walmart. “It’s not just one consumer or a few consumers,” he said. “This is a person that goes in that is a patron of their business and they need to be more proactive than reactive. Is it really going to have to take someone dying over this or a fatal wound before changes actually occur?”

It sounds almost like Wurster wants to put together a class-action razorblade lawsuit. Obviously, a razor blade lying around is a serious problem for Walmart. If a child had picked it up, then Wurster is right — someone could have been seriously injured or even passed away as a result. But Taylor’s claims of being totally helpless seem immensely embellished, based on the pictures.

Walmart spokespeople responded: “The safety of our customers and associates is always a top priority. We completed a thorough investigation and have been unable to substantiate Ms. Taylor’s claims.”

This Is What Happens When You Break Probation — Even If You’re A Judge

Probation is a serious matter for those who have committed criminal offenses. These individuals have already been found guilty of a crime. Sometimes jail time is attached, and offenders are eventually released on probation. Other times, individuals without a criminal record will avoid incarceration and be released on probation. The consequences for probation violations aren’t pretty.

Probation violation consequences can be extreme even for those who usually seem above the law — like judges. When former Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio missed a couple of probation appointments with a court-appointed officer, the law was swift in its reply. Ontario County Court Judge Lisa Toole slammed Astacio with a whopping 180 days in jail.

Toole said, “I’m not happy about it. I’m not going to tolerate it. Your actions show you do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. It stops today and it stops now.”

The purpose of probation is to give offenders a second chance — which is why those who fail to deliver the promised lifestyle changes most often can expect immediate consequences, and severe ones at that.

Astacio failed to understand what the probation system means. She admitted that she intentionally missed the aforementioned appointments simply to get back in front of a judge. She wanted to use this strategy to argue that the previous sentence wasn’t legal and that she shouldn’t have to continue to serve it. 

But the previous ruling was made because of her continued failure to accept the restrictions placed upon her: she tried to buy a firearm from a local Dick’s Sporting Goods, failed an alcohol drug test in June, did not implement the mandated Ignition Interlock Program, and more. 

Senior Assistant District Attorney Chris Kvam of Monroe County said, “Everything that has happened to Ms. Astacio has happened because of her choice. Those choices started with her decision to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel. Those decisions continued after her sentence after her trial where she did not adhere to the restrictions of the interlock device and she put herself where she is today.”

The fact that even a judge can be slammed with probation violation should make other offenders more aware of the potential consequences for doing so.

Probation can be violated in a number of different ways. These include the possession or use of illegal substances, getting arrested for committing a crime, failing to appear for a court-mandated meeting, failing to report to a probation officer when scheduled, or visiting people or places that have been restricted in the probation order. Probation violation very often result in immediate incarceration.

Traveling Abroad: What Is A “Smart” Motorway?

Claire Mercer had no idea a routine farewell to her husband would be the last. Her husband Jason was dead only fifteen minutes after they shared what would be a final breakfast — killed by a massive tractor trailer traveling down a “smart motorway” that most British citizens would have recognized as a hard shoulder on the side of the highway.

He was 44 years old at the time of his death this past June.

Jason is also only one of five people who have been killed along that 16-mile smart motorway in the past year. The man who was operating the vehicle was temporarily put into police custody because of the incident, but he was released on bail. Claire isn’t blaming the 39-year-old man who killed her husband — she’s blaming Highways England, and suing for wrongful death.

Coroners who have to deal with the aftermath of these accidents agree that more people will wind up in the morgue if something isn’t done immediately. This was a direct response to the death of Dev Naran, an eight-year-old Leicester boy who died when his grandfather was forced to park on the shoulder.

Claire believes that normally dangerous roadways like these would force traffic organizations to search for ways to mitigate the danger and end the practice of smart motorways — but instead, new ones are popping up.

Smart motorways exist to increase the flow of traffic by opening up shoulders to vehicles. According to their creators, they use “traffic management” tech to manipulate traffic patterns along certain roads. These smart motorways use variable speed limits and remove the hard shoulder. The traffic management tech displays a red “X” above the lane if someone breaks down on the now open shoulder. 

Naturally, it doesn’t always work — and people are the ones paying the price.

Jason was in a small car accident. Six minutes later, his vehicle was still parked on the shoulder, but computers hadn’t registered the accident or displayed the red “X.”

And of course, one must wonder whether or not 100 percent of the vehicles on the road would be paying close enough attention to notice the “X” and avert a tragedy.

Opponents of smart motorways call them death traps.

Since these lanes have opened up to traffic, the entirety of motorway deaths has increased by a massive eight percent, which amounts to 107 fatalities in the last two years.

When traveling abroad, it’s important that Americans know about these smart motorways. It may just be best to avoid them completely. Finding compensation for accidents that occur in another country can be difficult and time-consuming, but it is possible. If you were in an accident in the United Kingdom, call a personal injury lawyer for a free consult.

What Should You Say To The Police When You Are Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI?

The short answer is easy: you should say nothing. Instead, ask for a lawyer. But of course the reality is never so simple. We always want to profess our innocence or provide details that might mitigate our guilt. Most first-time offenders don’t know enough to keep their mouths shut. Chances are if you’re on this page, you’re a first-time offender. You’ve already talked more than you should have talked. It’s okay. We’re here to provide you with the next steps.

There is no such thing as an amount of communication with the police that is too little or too much. It depends on the situation and the circumstances of your arrest. However, it is important to be as cooperative as you can throughout the process. If and when you sit down with a judge, the judge will likely ask the arresting officers what you’ve been like up until that point.

It stands to reason that if you were openly hostile during your arrest, you’re more likely to face more severe repercussions during arraignment. The judge can decide to release you almost immediately if you’re sober, or let you stew in jail. Your bail can be low, high, or non-existent. So much of what happens next depends on your attitude towards law enforcement.

Hopefully you will have a lawyer present for any subsequent interrogations or interviews. Whether or not you do, you should know that you always have the right to remain silent or withhold a comment in response to a question. An interviewer might twist your silence to mean guilt, but do not become agitated into making a confession or a statement that can be used against you later.

Do not lie to the police. You shouldn’t need to lie. Because you should avoid answering any question that might incriminate you. It’s easy to justify your decision to keep silent: you’re worried that the police might decide your guilt or innocence based on personality rather than on the facts, or that something you say might make it seem like you’re guilty of a crime even though you meant something completely different.

Your lawyer should be allowed to do much of the talking, and will direct you whether or not to answer specific questions.

After your arrest, you will want to write down every single detail of what happened from the moment of your arrest right up until your release. Were you read your Miranda rights? Believe it or not, it depends on when those rights were read. So don’t forget to write those details down! They’re very important for your eventual defense.

When Is It Okay To Place A Camera In A Nursing Home Resident’s Room?

The question might sound silly, but elder abuse is becoming a more commonly recognized problem in the United States. New laws and regulations are fighting to prevent this phenomenon, which occurs when an elderly person is taken advantage of in a way that could harm them physically or financially. It happens more often than you think. When your loved one is living in a nursing home, is it okay to use a camera to keep an eye on them?

In Minnesota a woman began to suspect her mother was the victim of elder abuse. She took it upon herself to place a camera in her mother’s nursing home room not only to keep an eye on her mother, but also to deter any potential illegal behavior from occurring in the first place. The staff of this particular nursing home wasn’t having it. While they didn’t actually remove the camera from the room, they did point it in the other direction during the course of their work.

When the woman discovered the camera was having no effect, she took her case to the Minnesota Department of Health. The organization acted on her formal complaint to provide her with the legal authority to keep the camera in the room, and prevent caretakers at the nursing home in question from tampering with the expensive device.

Despite the fact that Minnesota and most other states have not written laws to allow or prevent surveillance devices in the rooms of nursing home residents, that doesn’t make it illegal.

One of the problems that sometimes arise when a family member tries to place a camera in a nursing home bedroom is consent. Often, residents are graced with a roommate — and that means a camera meant to protect your loved one’s interests might inadvertently capture intimate footage of someone else’s loved one without formal consent. This can potentially create a serious privacy issue.

The ideal scenario is this: before trying to place a camera anywhere, make sure you at least try to acquire consent from all parties that may appear in the captured footage (including caretakers or nursing home management, and power of attorney if applicable). While not everyone may agree, you’ve at least performed your due diligence. You can proceed until the law says otherwise.

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of elder abuse, it may be time to contact a personal injury or elder abuse lawyer to explore your options. Cameras should only be considered as tools to gather evidence.