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COVID-19Legally Speaking

Florida Coronavirus-Related Legal Updates

The coronavirus pandemic continues to affect us locally and globally. Lately, our home here in Florida has become a hotspot for COVID-19. Along with hospital visits, the number of coronavirus-related lawsuits has increased in the past few months.

There have been more than 170 federal and state lawsuits filed for coronavirus-related reasons this year in Florida. We are seeing that coronavirus victims may be able to file personal injury lawsuits in cases where businesses were negligent regarding the transmission of the disease.

Here are the major ways coronavirus-related litigation is affecting our state specifically:

Florida Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Line, based in Miami, is being sued by passengers of the Grand Princess ship claiming the company was negligent regarding COVID-19. These passengers claim that the ship was not adequately cleaned and passengers were not screened for illness prior to boarding.

A West Palm couple recently joined a lawsuit against Costa Cruises, a Carnival subsidiary, citing similar reasons. They claim officials onboard the boat that disembarked from Ft. Lauderdale on March 5th neglected to inform the 2,000 passengers and crew members about the potential coronavirus exposure and failed to take precautions to protect them.

Amid these claims, Carnival is planning to resume operations in a phased manner with a smaller fleet. It plans to mimic international reopenings by offering cruises starting with Germany in August and possibly Italy to follow.

Visiting Hospitalized Loved Ones

A family is suing the Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood because they are unable to visit their loved one in the intensive care unit because of coronavirus restrictions. The woman is in the hospital to treat complications related to an aneurism she suffered 10 years ago and her family is seeking daily visitations. The family claims that by withholding visitation, the hospital is putting their loved one’s health at risk.

Business Immunity

Florida is considering joining 19 other states in passing immunity provisions limiting legal liability for all businesses, including nursing homes. A similar bill is being debated on the national level, with a relief package that includes a five-year liability shield for businesses.

If these regulations were to pass, it would make it more difficult for people to claim negligence on the part of nursing homes and other businesses.

Stay Safe from Scams

We want to urge our clients, friends and family to be aware of scams taking advantage of people during these times of uncertainty. Make sure you are doing research to ensure the products and services you are using are safe. Please also be aware of people illegally posing as health officials. We have a list of coronavirus scams to be aware of.

Help your loved ones stay safe from these potential coronavirus scams by informing them of the dangers. If you believe you may have encountered a potential scam, we recommend reporting it to the Florida Attorney General’s office by calling 1(866)-9-NO-SCAM.

Law Firm Operations

We are dedicated to helping all of our clients through these trying times. We continue to work on all current cases and are able to take on new cases. We have the resources to handle your case and are always ready to discuss your questions and concerns.

At Panter, Panter & Sampedro we pride ourselves on protecting Florida’s families. At this time of need, we are here for you. Please feel free to call us at (305) 662-6178. To keep up to date with the news about COVID-19 and our firm, please follow us on Twitter. We also recommend that you get the latest information from the CDC about COVID-19.

Thank you and stay safe.


Sources:

Picchi, A. (2020, June 2). Carnival sued by cruise passengers alleging negligence over COVID-19.

Hines, M. (2020, July 10). Carnival cruise lines plan ‘staggered’ comeback, won’t return to full capacity until 2022.

Salisbury, S. (2020, April 14) Coronavirus Florida: West Palm couple survived cruise, join lawsuit.

Dimichele, A. (2020, May 13) A Fort Lauderdale woman has been hospitalized for weeks. Her family isn’t allowed to visit, lawsuit says.

Palmer, A. (2020, June 19) There’s a fight brewing over whether companies are responsible when workers get coronavirus.

Human Rights Watch (2020, June 15) US: Ensure Oversight, Not Immunity, for Nursing Homes.

Mitchell Panter
Author: Mitchell Panter

Mitchell Panter
the authorMitchell Panter
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