News reports have revealed a new surge of COVID-19 cases. CNN reported that, on June 23, California logged more than 7,000 new cases. That was a new record. The old record? Just over 5,000… on June 22. It’s clear the dangers of COVID-19 aren’t going away anytime soon, and that may lead you to a question: what happens if I become infected as a result of visiting a store, restaurant or other establishment? Do I have any legal recourse for that business’s failure to protect me? Depending on the facts of your case, you may have a basis for a civil lawsuit, so it is worth your while to consult a knowledgeable San Mateo personal injury attorney if that happens to you.
In California, as in every other state, there’s something called premises liability law. This is the area of law that applies to things like “slip-and-fall” cases, “trip-and-fall” cases, swimming pool accidents or a bedbug lawsuit against a hotel. It can apply in most situations where someone responsible for a property failed to act in a reasonable manner to keep the property reasonably safe. If there was a hazard that posed a foreseeable risk of harm and the person or entity who owned, leased, managed or controlled that property knew or should have known about the danger, but failed to take proper steps to address the hazard or else to post proper warnings about the dangerous condition, then that’s potentially a case of premises liability.
In the circumstance of a COVID-19 infection, the hazard (the coronavirus) is obviously well-known in the general public, as is the potential risk of harm (infection.) Nevertheless, a successful case will still require the harmed individual to prove that this general knowledge met the law’s standard for actual notice or constructive notice on the part of the property manager.