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waiter in a medical protective mask serves the coffee in restaurant during coronavirus pandemic

Managing Partner
The Cochran Firm - Dallas

As businesses start to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, some companies are taking steps to try to protect themselves from liability. You may be asked to sign a waiver before entering an establishment promising that you won’t hold them responsible if you contract COVID-19 after patronizing the business. Are these waivers enforceable, and will they hold up in court? Can you sue a company if you get sick after visiting? While the waivers don’t necessarily release a business from liability, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be able to bring a lawsuit. Keep reading to find out more about COVID-19 and liability law. 

The enforceability of waivers

Even if you did get sick while patronizing a business, it would be challenging to prove that it was responsible for your illness. Let’s say you go to work, get a pedicure, visit a restaurant, grab a drink at a bar, and attend a family gathering over a week-long period. A few days later, you start to feel COVID-19 symptoms and decide to get tested. After you test positive, you try to determine who gave you the virus — but given all of the interactions you had during the infection period, it would be difficult to hold one business responsible. If you live alone, had no visitors, and only visited one store during the time you were likely infected, that could be a different story. Still, contact tracing can be difficult in many cases.

On the other hand, businesses aren’t automatically free of responsibility, even with signed waivers. If you’re able to prove that their negligence led to your coronavirus case, you might have a viable lawsuit on your hands. It’s essential to contact a qualified attorney to discuss your options if you’ve come down with COVID-19 after signing a waiver at a business. 

Is it safe?

If a business asks you to sign a waiver if you get the coronavirus, it’s important to ask yourself whether it’s a good idea to visit in the first place. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be safe from the disease, regardless of what you do, but certain activities are associated with a higher risk. Working out at a gym, eating at a buffet, and attending large indoor events are a few things that experts recommend avoiding for the time being. 

Pandemic or not, it’s a good idea to be wary when you’re asked to sign a waiver by a business. If a business owner incorrectly thinks that a waiver absolves them of any liability, they may be more relaxed with safety and health standards. Consider only visiting businesses that are stringent about safety during the pandemic and requiring measures like masks and social distancing for both employees and patrons.

Take care of yourself

We’re living in an unprecedented time, and it’s difficult to know the best course of action when guidance from federal and local officials is often varied and even contradictory. It’s a good idea to take steps to keep you and the people around you safe to lower your risk of catching COVID-19 — social distance when you aren’t at home, wear masks whenever you can, and stay isolated if you feel sick. 

If you have questions about Covid-19 liability waivers or would like more information about your possible legal options, you can reach an attorney at the Cochran Firm Texas at 1800 THE FIRM (1-800-843-3476) or contact us now via our online chat for more information.

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