If a person is exposed to a pathogen and the premises can be proven in non-compliance with federal and state issuance of a closure, and it is proven that the premises was the vector for the pathogen, can a law suit for negligence be an issue in a wrongful injury or death legal suit? The problem is proving that the virulent pathogen was the infecting agent and that it was obtained from the premises and that those who are infected made a due diligent effort practicing government recommend personal hygiene. It maybe in fact is possible to bring suit, but the problem is establishing fact in the form of evidence to prove that the owners of the property were negligent, and that they willfully disregarded government efforts of containment and that their business was not a critical infrastructure that was allowed at least a minimum exemption.
Evidence of Disease in Workplace
Commonality may provide more on a class action suit. But the circumstances where a volume of persons can be connected to a non-compliant locality would be difficult. Another is evidence. How do you collect timely evidence to show that a site is infected with contagion of a specific disease? Much of the evidence would be removed with just common cleanup of wiping down the tables and chairs during routine cleaning. The facility is subject to inspections by the health department if it was a restaurant or fast food public sitting area. To comply most places are subject to at least minimum cleaning standards. Eating is one of the few more time-consuming activities that we indulge in, even if we are in hurry, we tend to spend more time in a public setting, even at fast food counters.
Voluntary Compliance in Minimizing Communicable Diseases
Then there is the non-compliance issue. Just how binding is the restrictions set forth by the government agencies tasked with preventing exposure to pathogens? Most rely on voluntary compliance, and the definition of a critical service or infrastructure provider is a moving target with criteria changing as the pandemic progresses. The idea is to prevent large congregations of people. The denser the population at any venue the more chances for the infection to proliferate. Any place that encourages us to congregate is being limited, such a DMV or other government agencies as well as public businesses that are not critical to the public, unlike grocery stores which are necessary to provide nutrition.
Disease Proliferation; Is Coronavirus Airborne?
Disease proliferation depends on how contagious the disease is, the vector or method of transfer and the best method to contain it. COVID-19 tends to have a ‘contact vector’ as a primary transfer of the pathogen and may have a secondary airborne one due to coughing and sneezing. With an abnormally long incubation of nearly twice that of most coronaviruses at two weeks, self-imposed quarantines of two or more weeks and reduction of high population venues is required to contain the disease.
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Proving negligence is such case would appear impossible to prove and legal suit would not be an effective deterrent and would do little to prevent the spread of disease as any court review would occur. After the everything had normalized after the fact, particularly as the courts are shut down during this period. The chances of a successful lawsuit would be somewhat dismal.
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