Wrongful Deaths Claims and COVID-19

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As Canada’s COVID-19 death toll rises, personal injury lawyers are preparing to investigate possible instances of fatal negligence. We know that COVID-19 is a serious disease that is especially harmful to the elderly, the ill, and other vulnerable people. We also know that proactive preventative measures can reduce infections and limit deaths. Look at New Zealand, Australia, and South Korea: these countries took early action against the disease and have remained diligent as infections fell. Governments, businesses, and private citizens worked together to save lives.

A little over 1,100 total cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in New Zealand. Roughly the same number, perhaps more, have been confirmed on three cruise ships – the Diamond Princess, Grand Princess, and Ruby Princess – operated by Princess Cruises Ltd. How is it that a single cruise line can account for as many coronavirus infections as a nation of 4.9 million? South of the border, two wrongful death lawsuits allege the company’s negligence put passengers at risk.

One complaint, filed by the family of a Los Angeles man who contracted the virus aboard the Ruby Princess, claims the cruise line’s parent company, Carnival Plc, knew of a previous outbreak on the vessel but chose to continue operating. The line is also accused of welcoming passengers on board without adequately sanitizing the vessel, according to Bloomberg Law. A separate claim has been filed by the family of a Texas man who contracted the virus aboard the Grand Princess.

Another wrongful death claim, filed by the family of a Walmart employee in Illinois, alleges the company failed to protect workers on several fronts. The employee, Wando Evans, was found dead from COVID-19 complications two weeks after reporting symptoms to his store. The claim alleges that Walmart failed to implement social distancing guidelines, failed to appropriately sanitize the location, and failed to provide personal protective equipment to employees. A second employee at the store passed away just days after Evans, also from COVID-19 complications.

In the State of Washington, a wrongful death claim has been filed against a Seattle-area nursing home and its parent company, Life Care Centers of America, per Global News. It alleges that “vital facts about the outbreak” were concealed from the family of Twilla Morin, who died on March 4. As a result, the plaintiffs did not feel compelled to remove Morin from “an environment, and under the care of individuals and entities, dangerous to her health and safety.”

To date, there have been several COVID-19 wrongful death claims initiated in Canada, including some focused on possible negligence at long-term care facilities. As the scope of the damage becomes clear, it is likely more claims will materialize.

If a member of your family has died or been injured as a result of the negligence of another party, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team is continuing to accept new clients throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.


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Greg Neinstein, B.A. LLB., is the Managing Partner at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers LLP. His practice focuses on serious injury and complex insurance claims, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, long-term disability claims and insurance claims. Greg has extensive mediation and trial experience and has a reputation among his colleagues as a skillful negotiator.
Greg Neinstein
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