The COVID-19 pandemic has affected vulnerable Canadians, including nursing home residents and people with long-term disabilities, particularly harshly. As we have already discussed on this blog, individuals with chronic pain, brain injuries, and other serious health issues have had to deal with new barriers to recovery. Meanwhile, the plight of residents in long-term care facilities has been well documented.
As the crisis stabilizes and jurisdictions across the country emerge from prolonged lockdowns, personal injury lawyers and their clients may face a new challenge: overburdened court systems. Not only will the courts need to address existing matters that were put on hold as the pandemic took root, they will also face a wave of fresh, COVID-19-related lawsuits.
There were already almost 700 individual legal actions and almost 200 class action lawsuits related to COVID-19 filed in the United States by early May. Canada lags far behind – there were just 19 class actions filed by June 7 – but personal injury lawyers believe many more are on the horizon.
Included in those 19 is Neinstein’s own class action against Chartwell Aurora Long-Term Care Residence in Aurora, Ontario.
“These families trusted these long-term care facilities to care for their loves ones, and I think their trust is broken,” Neinstein’s Rose Leto said to the CBC about that case.
While suits against long-term care facilities make up the bulk of existing COVID-related claims in Canada, other industries have also been targeted. In the United States, claims have been launched against cruise line operators, insurance providers, airlines, ticket retailers, and universities.
“What you find with COVID is the breadth of the sectors it touches,” one lawyer told CBC News Calgary. “You’re seeing many industry sectors affected simultaneously. We will have COVID-related cases in the courts for many years.”
“Any time there is mass harm, lots of people suffering financially, physically, they’re looking to hold people accountable, entities accountable,” added Jasminka Kalajdzic, an associate professor of law at the University of Windsor, in a separate report from the CBC. “Whether any of these, most of these, cases are going to be successful is a big question.”
Among personal injury lawyers, there is concern that a massive influx of new claims, combined with existing delays in the courts, will make life more difficult for seriously injured accident victims who rely on compensation to fund their recoveries.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team will review your case and explain your options for pursuing legal action.
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