During the pandemic, “essential worker” has become a household term. Healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, and many others have played a crucial role in keeping the country moving forward even as the majority of people were ordered to stay at home.
In some states, lawyers have been deemed essential workers, even as many law firms have shifted to offering virtual consultations with clients and work-from-home set-ups for staff. As the U.S. slowly reopens, though, one thing is for sure: Lawyers will be essential for ensuring people’s rights are protected as the country emerges from this unprecedented crisis.
As legal marketing experts, we at Consultwebs expect to see a flood of people searching for terms related to budding COVID-19 cases. Here’s what has been emerging so far:
Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19
Whether a person has been going to work through this pandemic or is just starting back to work, the fear of getting COVID-19 from workplace exposure is high. Workers want to know their rights and what benefits they may be entitled to if they get sick through occupational exposure.
Employment/Labor Law and COVID-19
Although workers are supposed to have protections under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), some may run into challenges and need help understanding their rights. In addition, workers who feel their employers have not taken appropriate health and safety precautions, and those who face retaliation for speaking up, will need experienced advocates. With the potential for a flood of COVID-19 lawsuits, some lawmakers and employers are already pushing for federal liability protections, a move that many argue could make conditions less safe for workers.
Medical Malpractice and COVID-19
Healthcare workers across the country are rightfully being hailed as heroes during this stressful time. However, there will still be situations where mistakes are made, and patients will suffer due to medical negligence. Although some protections have been enacted to shield healthcare workers from liability at the federal and state level, patients will be counting on medical malpractice lawyers to help them understand their rights and fight for fair compensation.
Nursing Home Negligence and COVID-19
Due to their vulnerable populations, nursing homes were inevitably going to face tough challenges in protecting the people in their care. However, facilities that failed to take proper precautions and allowed outbreaks to spread uncontrollably will be held accountable. Expect families to turn to nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers for help demanding answers and justice.
Wrongful Death and COVID-19
Walmart, Carnival Corp., JBS USA (a major meat processing company), and nursing homes in Oregon and Texas are already facing wrongful death claims over COVID-19 fatalities. As families of workers and consumers who died start seeing news of these wrongful death cases, they will be reaching out to lawyers to get a better understanding of their own legal rights.
Car Accidents and Other Personal Injury Claims During COVID-19
Many news outlets have reported a decline in the rate of crashes as people chose to stay at home as much as possible during the pandemic. However, law enforcement has also noted an increase in speeding-related crashes, as reckless drivers test their limits on near-empty roads.
In addition, healthcare professionals have reported seeing less of the typical injury patients, perhaps because people are afraid to seek help due to coronavirus exposure. Non-COVID-19 patients are also being prioritized differently. As one report indicated: “Some of the standards of practice are changing right now, so even for injuries that might otherwise be a simple fix, they might now result in lifelong effects.” This could have a serious impact on victims of car accidents, slip and falls, and other accidents in terms of exacerbating losses suffered.
Bankruptcy and COVID-19
Across the United States, businesses and consumers are struggling to find solutions to the crushing financial pressures caused by COVID-19. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) included provisions to provide some assistance to businesses and consumers who need to seek bankruptcy protections. Bankruptcy law firms are expected to see a surge in business as those who have been hardest hit financially seek to understand the best path forward.
Consumer Rights During COVID-19
It’s hard to believe that companies would try to take advantage of consumers during such a challenging time. But it’s bound to happen. Consumers will be faced with products touted as cures and preventive measures against the virus. Others will find the companies they have frequently purchased from, such as event ticket vendors and airlines, now refuse to give refunds, only credits. Across the country, states are being vigilant about squashing price gouging. Consumers who have been taken advantage of during this time will need legal guidance on how they can demand justice.
Premises Liability and COVID-19
Headlines have focused on the sickening and shocking conditions on cruise ships, where the virus has spread like wildfire and people are unsure of what legal actions they can take. As we move forward with the reopening, people may find themselves to be victims of large outbreaks tied to specific businesses such as restaurants, bars, hotels, and gyms that failed to take proper precautions to protect visitors on their property.
Divorce, Child Custody, and Domestic Violence During COVID-19
Anyone who has been quarantining with a family knows what a pressure cooker this can be at times. Unfortunately, many family law firms are predicting that cracks in marriages will turn into breaks, with both sides requiring legal help through divorce and child custody. In the worst situations, family lawyers may need to step in to help survivors of domestic violence understand their options for protecting themselves.
Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19
Restaurants, bars, retail stores, and other businesses that were forced to shut down due to COVID-19 should be reviewing their insurance policies at this point to determine what their coverage includes. The smartest course of action will be to work with an attorney who knows how to interpret these policies and can take on insurance companies that are reluctant to make fair payouts.
Know Which COVID-19 Cases Your Firm Wants?
At Consultwebs, we get lawyers more cases from the web. In a time like this, we are seeing so many opportunities for savvy firms to take action, and we would love to help your firm bring in the cases that will shape the legal profession’s impact on this pandemic recovery. Contact us today to set up a free consultation with a legal marketing expert.