The toll that the novel coronavirus has taken around the world is massive, and while Australia hasn't been hit as hard by the outbreak as some other nations, there are still a large number of cases across the country. Now, experts believe there could be a slew of lawsuits related to the virus as well.
There may be liability issues related to people contracting COVID-19 as a result of coronavirus infection, potentially stemming from medical negligence. According to ABC News, everyone from governmental institutions to health care providers and other organisations – and even individuals – could face liability depending upon what they did (or did not do) to reduce coronavirus risk.
Everyone has a duty of care that they need to reasonably adhere to in avoiding causing harm to others, and there has been some precedent in establishing liability in cases of outbreak in the past. With that in mind, if organisations did not take the reasonably recommended steps – proper hand-washing, social distancing and so on – when the severity of the problem became apparent in early 2020, they could find themselves in legal trouble.
Problematically, some may have taken a half-measure approach to confronting the potential spread of coronavirus, as even the government may have been slow to implement the strongest protocols possible – perhaps out of fear of damaging the economy. Health care providers likely were more responsive, but perhaps not to the extent that they could have been.
While this is not strictly a medical negligence case, there may be an outline in a potentially brewing class action suit around the Ruby Princess affair, according to Lawyers Weekly. It's likely that thousands of cases of coronavirus in Australia will stem directly from the cruise ship being allowed to dock without passenger health screenings, and as such, both the ship's operator and even the government could face class-action suits stemming from that decision.
That could provide a framework for other negligence cases – possibly including medical negligence on the part of a care provider – at some point in the future.
If you or someone you know has been affected by a potential case of medical negligence, you may be entitled to make a claim. Get in touch with the legal experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners today to learn more about our No Win No Fee program and examine all your options moving forward.