During this challenging and unprecedented time, we are all striving to do our part to “flatten the curve” while making ends meet and taking care of our families. Every day, we are inundated with coronavirus news, heartbreaking stories about loss and heartwarming stories about hope.
Here at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., we believe that everyone has a role to play as our community pushes through and slowly emerges from this pandemic. For more than 40 years, our firm has served the community as a tough advocate for justice and a trusted legal resource. For life’s toughest trials, we are here to help.
COVID-19 Legal Information
Although no one could have predicted how much our world would be changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, that does not provide cover to companies or individuals whose negligence causes harm to others. As legal professionals, we expect to see new types of cases emerge from the pandemic, but we also believe in the promise of justice.
COVID-19 and Wrongful Death
Across the country, essential workers have been manning grocery store checkouts, restocking shelves, making deliveries, and keeping the supply chain going. They count on their employers to take proper precautions and heed warnings about infections. Unfortunately, some companies may put profits before their people.
Already, the family of a Walmart employee has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the retail giant, arguing the employer did not do enough to protect its workers. The employee reported symptoms of the virus to his store managers two weeks prior to his death, yet managers kept him working. He was finally sent home on March 23 and was found dead in his home two days later.
Employers have a duty during this time to follow government guidelines and do their part to keep workers safe. Failure to take the proper precautions could result in workers, workers’ families, and consumers becoming ill.
COVID-19 and Nursing Home Negligence
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported that nursing home residents and those living in personal care facilities account for more than half of the COVID-19 cases in the state. The nursing home population is particularly high-risk for contracting COVID-19, and facilities and staff have a duty to care for residents and take proper precautions to prevent the spread. When facilities and staff are negligent in these duties, residents can suffer potentially deadly consequences as a result.
COVID-19 Class Actions
Sadly, there are companies that will seek to take advantage of this crisis, falsely advertising products to test for the disease or offering a miracle cure for COVID-19. In addition, some companies are finding themselves in hot water over unfair refund policies for cancelled trips, events, etc. Whenever a large group of people has been harmed by a company like this, they may join together in a class-action lawsuit to pursue damages.
COVID-19 Business Interruption Insurance
Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have hit businesses hard, forcing many to the brink of bankruptcy. Business owners are rightfully evaluating their property insurance policies to determine whether revenue losses as a result of this pandemic should be covered by business interruption insurance. As you might expect, insurance companies are pushing back on these claims, and either deny them or delaying any evaluation whatsoever. However, business owners should not back down from demanding the payment they are entitled to under their policy to receive. If you have questions about your rights under your insurance policy, please contact us for a free consultation.
Local COVID-19 Resources and Relief
Pennsylvania Workers Impacted by COVID-19
People who are unable to work in Pennsylvania due to coronavirus may be eligible for unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation benefits. To learn what benefits you may qualify for, visit the Department of Labor & Industry website.
New Jersey Workers Impacted by COVID-19
New Jersey has comprehensive earned sick leave, temporary disability, and family leave insurance laws that could apply to workers impacted by COVID-19. To understand your rights and figure out which program and benefits best match your situation, visit the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development website.
Philadelphia COVID-19 Fund
The PHL COVID-19 Fund provides grants to community nonprofit agencies throughout the Greater Philadelphia area to ensure those serving vulnerable populations have the funds to continue operations. These include agencies serving the elderly, people with disabilities, and those who are economically disadvantaged or homeless.
Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund
The Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund provides both grants and zero-interest loans to local small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. The program aims to provide relief to small businesses, allow them to retain as many workers as possible, continue the flow of goods and services to residents, and prevent businesses from falling victim to predatory lenders.
United Way of Pennsylvania COVID-19 Resources
The United Way of Pennsylvania provides a wealth of information on housing resources for homeowners and renters, as well as help with utilities, food assistance, health care resources, and other important information.
Federal COVID-19 Resources and Relief
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires some employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions apply through December 31, 2020. To learn more about the paid leave requirements, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division website.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. The economic relief package provides assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses. American households with income less than $99,000 (or $198,000 for joint filers) receive stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child – or up to $3,400 for a family of four. Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 are also eligible for the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.
The CARES Act also established the Paycheck Protection Program, providing small businesses with funds to cover up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits, as well as pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
For more information on the stimulus payments or the Paycheck Protection Program, visit the Treasury Department website.
Additional COVID-19 Resources