An Employers Deliberate Failure to Protect Workers from Coronavirus Exposure may be Actionable. Whether or not you were an essential employee during shelter in place orders or returned to the workplace after those orders were lifted, you might have faced an unreasonable risk of COVID-19 exposure if your employer failed to take reasonable steps to minimize that hazard.
If you or someone you know contracted COVID-19, and you believe your employer was at fault, you might be able to get compensated for your injuries. On some cases you might be limited to filing a workers compensation claim, but in others where the employer is a non-subscriber you might be looking at a personal injury lawsuit.
Even if the employer is a subscriber under the Texas Workers Compensation Act, in certain cases regarding the death of the employee, the surviving spouse or heirs of the deceased employee may still bring a personal injury lawsuit for exemplary (punitive) damages against employer if the death was caused by an intentional act or omission of the employer, or by the employer’s gross negligence. Texas Labor Code Chapter 408, Section 408.001, reads as follows:
Sec. 408.001. EXCLUSIVE REMEDY; EXEMPLARY DAMAGES.
(a) Recovery of workers’ compensation benefits is the exclusive remedy of an employee covered by workers’ compensation insurance coverage or a legal beneficiary against the employer or an agent or employee of the employer for the death of or a work-related injury sustained by the employee.
(b) This section does not prohibit the recovery of exemplary damages by the surviving spouse or heirs of the body of a deceased employee whose death was caused by an intentional act or omission of the employer or by the employer’s gross negligence.
(c) In this section, “gross negligence” has the meaning assigned by Section 41.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
Gross Negligence in turned means an act or omission: which when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the employer at the time of its occurrence involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others.
Cases where Employers forced their employees to come to the workplace, failed to provide any Personal Protective Equipment, remained open for business during shut down order even though they were not an essential service provider, will certainly met the gross negligence standard.
If you or your loved one suffered injuries from Covid 19 due to an employer’s gross negligence call Big Dan at (956) 287-3653.