You Go Out. You Get COVID-19. Can You Sue?

May 1, 2020 | Allen A. Ritchie

Allen's Answers


My number one question this week: Can I sue a business I visited if I get Coronavirus? Most folks want to know who would pay their potentially enormous medical bills.

Here is my legal explanation. If you go out, even if you wear a mask and stay 6 feet from everyone, and get the disease, you are pretty much on your own to pay those medical bills.

Here is why.

In Alabama, you must prove that the business caused you to get sick. With a disease that has a long incubation period, that can be very tough. You could have potentially gotten it almost anywhere.

Now in Alabama, you don’t have to prove the business absolutely, 100% gave you the virus. But you do have to prove that it is more likely than not they did. This is why workplaces tend to get sued more than restaurants or beauty salons.

Also, you must prove that the business failed to take reasonable precautions to protect its customers. This means they must do a lot more than just put up a sign in the corner stating, “Enter at your own risk.”

Here is a bit of Alabama law that also makes it difficult to sue. In our state, a business is not responsible for situations that are “open and obvious.” In short, if you know that there is a risk of infection and decide to go into the store or restaurant anyway, then you are generally responsible for the outcome.

We in the South love to go, especially when the weather is warm, but be especially careful. We are not back to normal yet.

If you are hurt in a traffic accident or suffer a personal injury, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet. We are working remotely mostly but are always available.

Also, join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We will take your calls live. We are experimenting with new ways to do the show and still follow the CDC guidelines. You might want to see what we have come up with.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama personal injury lawyer