What happens if you contract COVID-19 at work? Is your employer liable for your illness? These are essential questions that employees are asking as many states are easing masking requirements and employers continue to deal with the pandemic. 

But if you’re trying to hold your employer accountable if you catch COVID-19 while you’re at work, you’ll likely have an uphill battle in Florida. 

COVID Liability Shield Law

In March 2021, the Florida State Legislature passed Senate Bill 72 / House Bill No. 7: Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19, protecting businesses and health care providers from unscrupulous or opportunistic lawsuits related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation shields many businesses - including educational institutions, government entities, and religious institutions - by providing “heightened legal protections against liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law on March 29, 2021, effective immediately. 

Do I Have a Case?

COVID Liability Shield Law increases the usual negligence standards for COVID-related injury claims. In most cases, the plaintiff must prove that their employer engaged in negligent behavior, resulting in illness or injury. Suppose you decide to file a civil action based on a COVID-related claim. In that case, you must submit an affidavit signed by a physician attesting to the physician’s belief that your COVID-19 related damages occurred as a result of your employer’s acts, as well as prove that your employer was grossly negligent by clear and convincing evidence. According to Florida Statute 768.72, gross negligence is defined as “conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.”

Additionally, you must file your claim within the statute of limitations. Standard negligence claims have a four-year time frame. However, for COVID-related claims, the statute of limitations is one year after the negligent act or one year after March 29, 2021, if the negligence occurred before this date.

If you can overcome these obstacles, your employer may be liable for your COVID-related damages. 

Attorneys You Can Talk To!

If you believe that you have contracted COVID-19 at your workplace, you will have questions about your rights and their impact on your life. The attorneys at Doran, Beam & Farrell, P.A. understand your concerns and are ready to answer any question or address concerns that you may have about your claim. To schedule a FREE consultation, call or text us at 727-846-1000 or complete our online contact form.


Sources:
https://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/show/3938 

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-i-get-workers-compensation-benefits-for-coronavirus-covid-19.html