The news has covered examples where transmission of the novel coronavirus amounted to negligence:
- People congregating closely together on beaches despite warnings to stay at least ten feet apart and avoid large gatherings.
- A person who went to a “coronavirus party” and came down with the disease.
- The woman who thought it would be funny to cough and sneeze on the produce at the grocery store. No one knows whether she had the disease when she did that.
If these people transmitted the coronavirus to others, and a death occurred, a case for wrongful death could arise.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
The law of wrongful death varies among the states. In all states, spouses, children and parents of unmarried children can recover damages for the wrongful death of a loved one. In some states, more distant family members such as brothers, sisters and grandparents can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Some states allow people who suffered a financial loss from the person’s death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit for loss of care and support even when they were unrelated to the victim. Finally, in some states, A parent can sue for the wrongful death of a fetus.
Who Can be Sued? – Of course, the person who caused the wrongful death can be sued. But liability also can extend to other persons or even companies or institutions. For example, the employer of a driver who negligently kills someone while driving the company car can be held liable for the death. Defects in products – whether in design or manufacture – can lead to liability. Another unfortunate example is the bar or restaurant that allowed an employee to serve excessive amounts of alcohol to a person who then drove while intoxicated and caused a death.