The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created countless challenges for workers and businesses alike. Many businesses closed temporarily to protect their employees, while others had to find new ways to do business without placing workers or customers at risk. There are few surefire ways for employers to prevent any work-related COVID-19 exposures short of sending their entire workforce home. However, many businesses found a way to adapt to the challenge in a safe, ethical way.
While many businesses took appropriate precautions to prevent workers from exposure to COVID-19, some did not. Thousands of workers have been exposed to COVID-19 on the job and then brought the virus home with them, exposing their families to the ravages of this deadly disease. Reuters estimates that as much as 9% of the first 200,000 American COVID-19 deaths stem from infections that began at the workplace and then spread in the home. Because of this, home lawsuits over COVID are on the rise.
There have been a flood of “take home” lawsuits from workers whose families have suffered illness and even death after their employers failed to adequately protect them from COVID-19, and these lawsuits show that these infections could be costly. One risk assessment firm believes the total value of these take home COVID19 lawsuits could top $21 billion.
What Is a “Take Home” Lawsuit?
“Take home” lawsuits get their name from the idea that an employee was exposed to a source of illness as a condition of his or her employment, and then unwittingly took that source home, exposing the entire family to harm.
The term “take home” lawsuit came about in relation to lawsuits filed by workers exposed to asbestos. Many workers who developed mesothelioma and other illnesses related to asbestos exposure also inadvertently exposed their families to these dangers. This is because asbestos fibers can cling to a person’s hair, skin, and clothing, then become airborne and enter another person’s respiratory system or digestive tract. Once exposed, people who inhale or ingest asbestos fibers have a greatly increased risk of developing cancer and other illnesses.
When it comes to COVID-19, it’s easy to see how the “take home” lawsuit applies. Because COVID-19 can be easily transmitted by people who show no symptoms, it’s inevitable that someone could catch the virus from a coworker due to unsafe working conditions, then expose his or her family to the virus at home.
How to Know If You Have a COVID-19 Take-home Claim
Because COVID-19 has spread so freely and widely throughout the U.S. and tracing programs have not been implemented at scale, it can be difficult to determine the source of any individual infection. For any “take home” suit related to COVID-19 to be successful, the plaintiff would have to show that the infection was a result of negligence on the part of an employer.
You may need to show that your employer or your family member’s employer did not take appropriate steps to minimize the chance of COVID-19 exposure. It will also help your case to show that you were taking appropriate precautions to protect yourself and your family.
Notable COVID Lawsuits in the News
As COVID-19 has continued to spread unchecked through the population, several major “take home” lawsuits have already been filed against employers. Experts estimate that 7 percent to 9 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are the result of “take home” infections, so the number of claims is likely to grow.
The most notable case so far involves the family of Esperanza Ugalde in Illinois. The wrongful death lawsuit claims that Esperanza died from complications related to COVID-19 after contracting the virus from her husband, Ricardo Ugalde. Ricardo Ugalde worked in a meat processing plant operated by Aurora Packing Co., and Esperanza’s daughter said the plant’s staff was forced to work “shoulder to shoulder” in April, even after the company became aware that there was a COVID-19 outbreak among its workforce. The lawsuit also alleges that Aurora failed to warn its employees about the outbreak and did not adopt any protective measures.
Another case that’s made headlines involves Miriam Alvarez Reynoso, also of Illinois. Reynoso has filed a suit against Byrne & Schaefer, Inc., which makes electrical components. Reynoso’s lawsuit states that she suffered serious injuries to multiple organs after contracting COVID-19 from her husband, Servando Reynoso, who worked at the company and came home sick in April. Reynoso’s lawsuit outlines 18 areas in which the company failed to adequately protect its employees, including ignoring employees who reported COVID-19 symptoms and failing to properly clean work areas.
What to Do If You Think You Have a Claim
If you believe you have the basis for a “take home” COVID lawsuit, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer right away. These claims are difficult to prove, as you will have to show how the disease spread in your family, the connection to the workplace, and the employer’s lack of appropriate precautions. You will need help from an experienced attorney if you wish to recover any compensation for your losses.
Talk to a COVID Lawyer Now
As a doctor and an attorney, Dr. Michael Wilson is particularly qualified to assist you with your “take home” COVID claim. Dr. Wilson has spent more than 30 years helping the victims of medical malpractice, recovering more than $100 million in compensation for his clients. His particular knowledge and experience make him the ideal choice to handle injury claims related to COVID-19. He is ready to help people with their lawsuits over COVID infections during this difficult time. To get started on your COVID 19 litigation claim, contact the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates today.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.