What happens if you contract COVID-19 and who is responsible?Published on Posted on
Please note that this post was written for Victorian audiences and the information within may not apply to other regions.
If you believe that a person, organisation or company has failed to comply with a government-issued restrictions or failed to take reasonable care and precaution and you have become infected with COVID-19 you may have claim against them.
A duty of care is a legal obligation to avoid acts or omissions that could foreseeably lead to harm to another person. In Victoria, the law of negligence is governed by the Wrongs Act 1958 (“the Act”).
The Wrongs Act governs claims for damages for economic and non-economic loss arising from personal injury and death in Victoria, as a result of negligence or fault.
Where negligence is established damages can be awarded in the form of monetary compensation for the injuries sustained.
Consequences of contracting COVID-19
A person who contracts the COVID-19 virus may suffer serious complications including acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary fibrosis, other ongoing respiratory problems such as shortness of breath, infections, impaired liver function, heart failure, stroke, venous embolisms, depression, fatigue and cognitive deficits such as memory loss and reduced concentration. These all may have lasting effects and, in the most extreme cases, may also result in death.
The symptoms and/or treatment for COVID-19 may also result in the recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of a pre existing injury or disease. According to the Federal Government Department of Health website, persons who are most vulnerable are those with weakened immune systems and diagnosed chronic medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, heart and lung conditions, kidney disease and diabetes).
Accordingly, a person who contracts the COVID-19 virus may require ongoing medical care and/or have a reduced capacity for work and in some severe cases may never be able to return to work again.
What compensation may you be entitled to?
An injury can affect you physically, emotionally and financially. It can often be a stressful experience, for you and also your family.
If you have contracted COVID-19 in negligent circumstances, you may be entitled to the following award of damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical and like expenses
- Loss of earning
- Domestic assistance
Does the injured person have to prove that their contracting of COVID-19 was due to the fault of another party?
We understand that there is concern from the general public, about the lack of adequate steps being taken in some circumstances to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 after being exposed in a public place you would need to prove that you contracted COVID-19 in circumstances where a third party has failed to take reasonable care and precaution.
What other entitlements may someone who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 be entitled to?
Regardless of whether an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 is eligible for compensation under the Wrongs Act, they may be entitled to pursue other entitlements such as:
- Total and permanent disablement or permanent incapacity within your Superannuation Scheme;
- Income protection;
- Critical illness insurance or trauma cover; and
These schemes are dependent on the individual’s unique policy, and they all hold various and specific requirements that need to be satisfied.
At Zaparas Lawyers, we have a dedicated Superannuation department who will be able to assist in exploring all your potential rights and entitlements.
WorkCover entitlements explained click here
How can we assist you?
We have a team of experts on occupational diseases, including respiratory conditions, who have seen how traumatic the effects an occupational disease or condition can be on not just the person affected but their family and friends.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 please contact one of our expert lawyers who can advise you of your rights and assist you in navigating your potential compensation claim.
Contact us today for an obligation free telephone appointment and trust our family to take care of you.