A Walmart worker has filed a wrongful death action against Walmart in Illinois state court. The news comes as attorneys here in North Carolina are seeing a recent uptick in calls regarding potential COVID-19 claims.
“There is no question that we are beginning to see increasing interest in finding legal solutions to COVID-19 problems” says Mark McGrath, a personal injury attorney in Raleigh. “I have heard from business owners with questions about their commercial business interruption insurance coverage and I have heard from families who have lost ones in nursing home outbreaks” says McGrath. “At this point the calls are really all over the place.”
The Illinois suit seeks damages for Walmart’s alleged failure to respond appropriately to the pandemic, particularly it failure to implement and enforce appropriate infection control and workplace hygiene and safety measures.
The viability of the Illinois suit is difficult to assess based on an initial reading of the suit papers. A lawsuit seeking the same relief in a North Carolina courtroom would face a steep challenge, according to McGrath. “When a North Carolina worker dies on the job she is generally not permitted to sue her employer in court,” says McGrath. “In that situation an employee’s only remedy is through the workers’ compensation system. Workers can still pursue people and legal entities other than the employer” points out McGrath. “It’s just impossible to say at this point whether the result would be different under Illinois law”
If a loved one has died due to COVID-19 and you believe that someone could have done more to prevent the death, we are eager to hear from you.