COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, an unprecedented impact all our lives. The death count has been astonishing. In addition, schools, gyms, restaurants and most businesses have been closed and more than 10% of the population has been laid off. These are just some of the ways in which the pandemic has already affected our day-to-day lives.
While no one can predict when the pandemic will end, one thing is certain: everything has changed. Long after the threat of illness has passed or been significantly reduced, our society will continue to grapple with the financial, social and legal aftermath this pandemic has caused.
One impact that we are already beginning to see from the pandemic is a rise in legal claims related to it.
Rising Legal Claims Related to COVID-19
It started with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
Almost as soon as the pandemic was announced, people began to hoard these basic items and then sell them at unheard of prices. According to the Associated Press, lawsuits have been instituted across the nation to address a variety of claims of “price gouging” by individuals and businesses. The AP investigation found that the types of products being hoarded and then sold at unfair prices includes such things as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, medical masks, rice, and even potatoes.
Georgia’s price gouging laws went into effect on March 14, 2020. Price gouging is the practice of increasing the price of certain goods or services after the declaration of a state of emergency where the increased cost does not accurately reflect an increase in the cost of new stock or the cost to transport it, plus the retailer’s average markup percentage applied during the ten days immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency.
But price gouging is just one of many different types of legal claims we are starting to see due to COVID-19.
Another common claim has become one of “negligence” or “gross negligence” in the personal injury arena due to exposure to the virus. Workers’ compensation claims are on the rise against employers who did not allow their employees to leave or work from home, or who may have not done enough to protect them.
Likewise, there has been an increase in allegations against businesses brought by consumers or customers. For example, a lawsuit has been filed against Princess Cruise Lines by Grand Princess passengers. The Grand Princess is the cruise ship that continued to sail for several days after management was aware that one person onboard showed COVID-19 symptoms. The ship ultimately docked at Oakland, California. However, passengers and crew were trapped on board the ship for days.
Other COVID-19 related legal claims are arising in real estate as well, where, according to the National Law Review, the pandemic is having a drastic effect on commercial as well as residential leases and the rights of all parties to real estate transactions.
The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. And it the legal ramifications from it are just beginning.
Real Estate Attorneys in Georgia.
For more than 30 years, the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein has focused on all aspects of real estate law and litigation. We are located in Cumming, Georgia, but we serve clients in and around Atlanta, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, Forsyth County, and a number of other counties in Georgia. Call us at 770-888-7707, or contact us here, or send inquiries by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.