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Few personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death claims expected from COVID-19, attorney says

Posted at 1:07 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 19:16:45-04

INDIANAPOLIS — When it comes to COVID-19, you may not see as many personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death claims filed in Indiana, as you might expect.

Indiana currently has more than 9,542 cases of COVID-19 and 477 deaths.

Personal injury attorney Matthew Bigler with Ladendorf Law says to bring a successful lawsuit you’d have to prove where you got COVID-19, which can be extremely difficult.

“As a plaintiff, you have the burden of proof,” said Bigler. “You would have to prove that you got it at this store, or at this restaurant or at this place.”

Bigler said it might be easier to prove if the person was a nursing home resident or was on a cruise ship.

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Dozens of nursing home residents have died in Indiana as a result of COVID-19.

“For someone to be negligent, you’d have to show that they knew or should have known that there was potential to infect other people, but a lot of times people are asymptomatic,” said Bigler.

RTV6 has also received a lot of complaints from Indiana workers who say their employers are not doing proper cleaning or taking precautions.

Bigler said employers and workplaces have a general duty of safety to keep the workplace free of hazards or mitigate known hazards that could have serious risks of injuries or death.

However, if you get sick at work because your employer is not taking proper precautions, chances are you can’t file a lawsuit.

"With the way the workman's comp system is set up, even if your employer is very, very grossly negligent and you get sick on the job, there's the exclusive remedy of workman's comp protection,” said Bigler. “Unless the laws get changed at some point."

Employees can file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Labor.