COVID-19 and Personal Injury Lawsuits

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned life as we know it upside down. Many in our community have lost their jobs. Many others have continued to work on the front lines in healthcare and other essential services, risking their own health for the benefit of us all. Our favorite businesses have been shut down, and the new “normal” when we do venture from home requires mask-wearing and social distancing.

With the uncertainty brought by this pandemic, we’ve seen touching examples of communities coming together. Businesses have switched gears to produce masks or create medical equipment. Local restaurants, already struggling, have provided food to the elderly and those with limited means. Money has been raised for those who have lost their jobs. Citizens have treated our front-line workers to surprise lunches to show our appreciation for their life-saving work.

Although the majority of people have come together, as in every scenario, there continue to be bad actors. The shutdown of our courts hasn’t stopped an onslaught of lawsuits related to the COVID-19 crisis. According to Hunton Andrews Kurth, an international law firm monitoring COVID-19 related lawsuits, as of June 1, 2020 there have been 2,360 lawsuits filed in state and federal courts across the country. In Washington alone, there have been 70 filed. This article will discuss some of the lawsuits we’re seeing.

Several lawsuits around the country have been filed based on price-gouging. This is legally prohibited during a state of emergency. One such class action lawsuit was filed against Amazon, based here in Washington, which alleges the company increased the price of cold medicine by 674 percent—from an average cost of $4.65 to $35.99. There have also been excessive prices for face masks and hand sanitizer that are triggering lawsuits.

The closures around our country have meant cancelled events and travel plans. Some organizations have outright denied refunds and consumers have filed lawsuits to recoup their payment. Such lawsuits have been filed against SeaWorld, Ironman, British Airways, and several music festivals that were planned for this summer.   

Most medical professionals in our country have been heroes during this pandemic. However, a minority of medical professionals have attempted to capitalize on the fear spreading throughout our country.  For example, a recent case was filed against a California doctor after he charged an undercover agent $4,000 for a COVID-19 treatment kit that included Xanax and Viagra.

Here in Washington, several lawsuits were filed against Governor Inslee alleging that his stay at home order was unconstitutional. On the opposite end, there have been lawsuits filed against businesses continuing to operate in violation of Governor Inslee’s orders.  Washington was the epicenter of the spread in the United States due to an outbreak at Life Care Center, an assisted living facility located in Kirkland. There were at least 37 deaths associated with this outbreak. The first wrongful death lawsuit related to COVID-19 was filed in Washington against Life Care Center. It alleges it was aware of the respiratory outbreak in the facility for months, but failed to act to protect its residents.

There is no doubt that in the coming months we will see many more lawsuits in Washington and around the country based on the COVID-19 pandemic. If you believe you or a family member have been injured due to improper care related to the COVID-19 crisis, call Abeyta Nelson to discuss your concerns. There is never a fee to talk to us, and no fee unless we recover compensation for you.


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