NJ Attorney for Work Injuries Caused by Unsafe Work Conditions from the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Many states closed all non-essential businesses to combat the spread of COVID-19. Essential workers in New Jersey face uncertain risks working through the shutdown. Unfortunately, some employees contracted the coronavirus while working and suffered adverse medical consequences. Now, as states across the country begin the process of slowly reopening, more workers are going to be exposed to potential harm.
Employees in New Jersey have a reasonable expectation that their workplace environment is safe. If their employers fail to take necessary and reasonable precautions to lessen the risk of spreading the infection, they could be held accountable for any harm their employees incur. If you or a loved one are suffering from the effects of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace, contact our New Jersey attorney for work injuries caused by unsafe work conditions from the coronavirus (COVID-19). Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 for a free, confidential consultation to review your options.
New Jersey Employer’s Duty to Their Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) publishes safety standards and regulations that most New Jersey businesses are required to follow. These standards are fully enforceable by law and violations could result in legal actions. As our nation struggled to deal with the disastrous effects of the coronavirus, OSHA issued recommendations and guidelines for mitigating the risk of infection in the workplace. Unfortunately, these recent guidelines lack the legal enforceability of previous regulations. Even so, our knowledgeable attorneys can use these guidelines as a framework to help determine if your employer is taking reasonable steps to keep you safe.
Despite thousands of pages of safety standards, OSHA’s regulations do not cover every imaginable risk an employee might face. Situations not explicitly covered by a specific regulation typically fall under the purview of the “General Duty Clause.” This catch-all clause requires New Jersey businesses to provide employees a work environment that is free from any known hazard that could likely cause serious physical harm or death.
Proving Violations of the “General Duty Clause” by New Jersey Employers
To establish a violation under the “General Duty Clause,” our experienced New Jersey lawyers will have to demonstrate several elements.
First, a hazard must exist in the workplace. Local governments across the nation have issued “shelter-in-place” orders and have closed down non-essential businesses to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers COVID-19 a hazard to employees’ health. Therefore, the risk of infection is a known hazard that exists in the workplace.
Next, the hazard must likely cause physical harm or death. The impact of COVID-19 has been well documented over the last few weeks. The infection could result in severe respiratory issues and death.
Finally, there must be reasonable and feasible steps an employer could take to eliminate or minimize the hazard. OSHA has provided detailed recommendations that businesses could easily implement to protect employees. While these regulations may lack legal enforceability, they can help our attorneys determine whether or not an employer took reasonable precautions.
If you contracted COVID-19 in your workplace and your employer failed to do most, if not all, of the following, you might be able to hold them responsible for your injuries.
- Providing you information concerning the risks of COVID-19 and training on how to recognize symptoms of the virus and ways minimize the spread of the virus.
- Having procedures in place to check the health of you and your fellow workers.
- Configuring your workspace to allow for social distancing. Additionally, installing protective barriers if your job requires closer interaction, such as a cashier.
- Ensuring the workplace has several well-stocked wash stations.
- Providing you and other employees protective equipment, such as masks and gloves.
- Implementing a regular workplace cleaning and disinfection schedule.
Requirements for Negligence in a New Jersey Lawsuit for COVID-19 Related Injuries
The coronavirus is going to present many new legal challenges – especially regarding employer liability. The attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm have the depth of skill and knowledge of negligence law and the resources to monitor current developments across the country necessary to navigate this new landscape.
The basic negligence requirements that apply to a typical personal injury claim will apply here.
- The defendant owed the injured party a duty
- The defendant breached that duty
- The breach directly caused the harm or injury
- There were actual damages
Recently, the first wrongful death lawsuit related to COVID-19 was filed in an Illinois court. The claim alleged that an employer who willfully failed to implement OSHA’s recommendations to mitigate the spread of the virus was legally negligent for any injuries or death that occurred. More specifically, the conduct included not properly cleaning the facility, failing to advise the employees of the potential risk, and not providing adequate safety equipment such as masks. Our attorneys are prepared to make similar arguments for any injuries sustained due to the coronavirus and an employer who purposefully failed to mitigate the risk of infection. The law regarding COVID-19 and employer liability is uncertain so you need our skilled New Jersey attorney fighting at your side.
Call Our NJ Attorney for Work Injuries Caused by Unsafe Work Conditions from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Today
Safety first is a meaningful phrase. Workers in New Jersey are entitled to a work environment free from unreasonable dangers. When a business fails to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of its workers, accidents and injuries occur. During this unprecedented pandemic, it is vital for employers to place a high standard on the well-being of their employees. If you or a loved one contract COVID-19 in the course of employment, call our NJ attorney for work injuries caused by unsafe work conditions from the coronavirus (COVID-19). To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000.