HERGOTT: COVID-19 and legal issues

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

The pandemic presents a number of interesting legal issues.

China has been sued in a class action lawsuit out of Nevada alleging the Chinese government caused the outbreak of COVID-19 and for failing to act appropriately to contain it. The “Class Action Complaint” can be found at this link: Class Action Complaint.

Another class action alleges that Purell hand sanitizer was falsely marketed as being able to prevent disease and reduce illness. That “Class Action Complaint” can be found at this link: Class Action Complaint.

There is also an abundance of COVID-19 related legal issues much closer to home. I will be writing a short series about how COVID-19 might impact on a personal injury claim.

One potential impact has to do with the temporary shutdown in hands on care. Physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and other hands on practitioners have shut their offices.

A delay or interruption of care can have long term impacts on recovery. I’ve just finished a column series about how ICBC can challenge your claim if you fail to diligently pursue and follow through with care.

How is your personal injury claim impacted if something totally unrelated to the crash, i.e. a pandemic, causes a worse outcome? Will you be compensated for that? Will a COVID-19 care delay or interruption allow ICBC to slither out of fairly compensating you?

And COVID-19 has slammed the brakes on our economy. Many business operations are drastically reduced or shut down entirely. Scads of employees are out of work.

How is your claim for income loss impacted by an intervening event like a pandemic? If you were disabled from work before the pandemic hit, does your claim for income loss continue even though you would have been laid off anyway? And does ICBC get credit for emergency financial relief? What if COVID-19 causes a lay-off, but it’s your crash injuries that disable you from finding alternate work?

And COVID-19 will take some lives.

What if an injured victim, pursuing compensation for their injuries and losses, dies because of a COVID-19 related death? Will their rights arising from the claim be passed on to the beneficiaries of their estate? Is it any different if they would have survived COVID-19 had their health not been compromised by crash injuries?

Do any of you have any other questions or concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact on your ICBC claim? Please e-mail me and I will either respond directly or address them in a column in this series.

Missed last week’s column?

HERGOTT: Driving while intoxicated

About Paul Hergott, Personal Injury Lawyer:

Paul began practicing law in 1995 in a general litigation practice. Of the various areas of litigation, he became most drawn to and passionate about pursuing fair compensation for personal injury victims, which has gradually became his exclusive area of practice. Paul’s practice is restricted to acting only for the injured victim, never for ICBC nor for other insurance companies.

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