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Airlines Spread on Arrival

Spread on Arrival: Negligence Cases Against Airlines For Spreading Coronavirus

The weekend of March 13 and 14, 2020, “anxious passengers said they encountered jam-packed terminals, long lines and hours of delays” as the United States government began “enhanced entry screenings” of passengers returning from Europe, to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to the Washington Post.

The same weekend, travelers returning to California from the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and the South Pacific expressed surprise that they were not screened, with one traveler reporting that even shoppers at grocery stores in the Philippines were being screened for fever. Travelers returning to New York City in mid-March from virus hotspot Italy also expressed surprise at the lack of virus screening.

The World Health Organization became aware of the highly infectious COVID-19 coronavirus on December 31, 2019. The virus, first appearing in Wuhan, China, quickly spread to the United States, sped along by some 1,300 direct flights to 17 cities in the United States prior to the imposition of travel restrictions in late January. In all, airlines transported 470,000 persons into the United States after the coronavirus surfaced, according to the New York Times.

Duty of Airlines to Protect Residents From Coronavirus Injuries

It is evident that airlines knew that COVID-19 was an especially infectious and dangerous disease, yet they continued to fly carriers of the illness around the world, infecting tens of thousands of persons in cities across the United States. What’s worse, travelers returning to the United States from virus hotspots were not even screened by airlines.

Businesses have a duty to exercise reasonable care in the handling of serious and potentially deadly illnesses. If a business breaches the duty to exercise reasonable care in protecting persons from exposure to a deadly, easily transmissible disease, persons injured as a result of the breach of this duty may recover damages from the business.

Persons who become infected with coronavirus may face weeks or months of intensive medical treatment. The illness, treatment, and recovery can result in permanent injury, extensive out-of-pocket medical costs, and extensive pain and physical and emotional suffering.

If a person has been exposed to the COVID-19 virus as a result of the negligence of an airline, the person may be entitled to damages for out-of-pocket medical costs, pain and suffering, and any permanent damage or loss of function caused by the infection.

Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyers Handle Coronavirus Negligence Claims

Beginning in early 2020, the spread of the dangerous COVID-19 virus became a top media story in every news outlet, in nearly every format, in the world. News about the illness was literally inescapable. Airlines cannot, therefore, complain that they were unaware of the need to take reasonable precautionary steps, including:

  • Screening employees and passengers for symptoms of the illness and isolating those with symptoms;
  • Inquiring into the travels of employees and passengers, to identify any persons who may have traveled to virus hotspots;
  • Inquiring into contacts between employees and passengers with persons who may have been infected;
  • Refusing boarding to symptomatic employees and passengers;
  • Requiring all employees and passengers to wear protective clothing and masks;
  • Enacting social distancing measures to lower the risk of transmission between persons on airlines;
  • Enacting disinfection measures to ensure that surfaces within airlines and airline facilities were virus free;
  • Limiting or prohibiting travel to and from known virus hotspots.

If an airline has failed to take reasonable steps to protect persons from exposure to the COVID-19 virus, a person injured by the airline’s negligence may be entitled to compensation. The professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can assist persons injured by the COVID-19 virus.

Coronavirus Negligence Claims in Charlotte, North Carolina

If a person has suffered injury resulting from exposure to the coronavirus, the person may be entitled to reasonable compensation for the injury. The injured person may bring a claim against the carrier that transmitted the virus, which may have been responsible for the virus exposure event.

Most personal injury claims in North Carolina must be brought within three (3) years of the date of an injury. Airline negligence cases involve significant investigation, preparation, and litigation, as a causal relationship must be established between a person’s illness and a carrier’s negligent conduct.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

The best thing a person injured by exposure to the coronavirus can do is contact an experienced, local personal injury attorney. The professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can assist injured persons in identifying the exposure event and those responsible, and in preparing and filing claims against at-fault persons or carriers.

With offices in Charlotte, Monroe, and Mooresville, Arnold & Smith, PLLC handles personal injury cases across the entire State of North Carolina. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to set up a free initial consultation.

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