COVID-19 has caused massive complications throughout the economy and within government agencies as well. Legal practices and the courts have not been immune to this disruption. Throughout much of the United States, courtrooms have gone dark. Depositions, dispute resolutions, and exams have been suspended in many jurisdictions, and especially those hit hardest by COVID-19. Of course, this doesn’t mean that legal action has stopped. COVID-19 related litigation has already begun to appear. Naturally, when dealing with the repercussions of a pandemic, expert witness services are still required. As the country opens back up, this need will only increase.
No industry has been affected as severely as healthcare. Hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities have seen shortages when it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other necessary materials. Nurses, doctors, and hospital staff have been forced to work without adequate safeguards and extended hours. When being overworked and under-equipped, mistakes are bound to happen. Although errors won’t always fall into the category of malpractice, some likely will.
Local jurisdictions have anticipated this. Certain forms of immunity have already put in place in some areas, but this isn’t universal. Negligence lawsuits and other types of litigation are expected to increase, especially once courtrooms have returned to normal function. Understandably, expert witnesses and consultations will be needed. Appropriate disciplines, such as infectious disease, geriatric medicine, nursing home administration, nursing, hospital administration, epidemiology, family medicine, and internal medicine, will all play key roles, depending upon the specifics of the case.
Nursing facilities have been impacted more than most. They may face litigation claiming that they failed to take appropriate precautions. Primary care physicians will likely be accused of misdiagnosis. Legal action will be seen for years to come, and both the prosecution and defense will be looking for experts to aid their clients. Medical experts are always in demand, but COVID-19 has increased the need beyond expectations.
Businesses across the country have already begun filing insurance claims due to losses and interruption. Insurance companies are understandably hesitant to pay out such numerous and large claims. Many insurance plans contain language that requires a “physical loss of or damage to property.” This language will probably be used to avoid covering insurance holders. Bad faith claims are bound to follow. Clearly, medical expert witnesses will be essential when handling this litigation. Experts with backgrounds in epidemiology, public health, and occupational medicine could be crucial.
Essential businesses are certainly not immune to facing legal action. Grocery stores, big box stores, pharmacies, and even gas stations could be accused of not complying with state and local mandates, maintaining unsanitary conditions, or otherwise exposing customers to COVID-19. Even non-essential businesses, such as hotels, casinos, cruise ships, game stores, and movie theaters, should anticipate the possibility of similar lawsuits. They’ll obviously require similar experts to those mentioned above. To put together the best case you can, expert witnesses are essential.
Although some immunity is expected and has already been provided in some instances, not all companies are covered, and exceptions may apply. Insurance claims, medical lawsuits, and COVID-19 litigation have only just begun. Further claims are coming and could be seen for the next several years. It’s crucial that legal professionals have the medical expert witness services they need in order to present the strongest case possible. Contact the helpful team at Reliable Clinical Experts LTD at 1-206-895-3359 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation.