Attorney Dennis VanDerGinst says he’s been fielding lots of calls about coronavirus exposure since the pandemic started.
“Any time you are made sick or injured while in the course of or in the furtherance of your employment, you have a potential case,” VanDerGinst said. But, you’re almost always going to be limited to worker’s compensation as your sole remedy against your employer.”
But you have to prove that you got the virus while on the job.
“It can be done through contact tracing, it can be done through testimony, for instance you can show that you’ve been no place other than home and work,” VanDerGinst said.
You could have a negligence case if you’re a customer and can trace back to the store, however. But if you enter a store that is disobeying the rules, it could be more difficult.
“Not only do you have the burden of proving that’s how and where you contracted it, but you also have to show that you were not comparatively negligent,” VanDerGinst said. “Or that you did not assume a risk.”
Sippi’s in Davenport is serving people at their restaurant now, and their owner says they’re following Iowa’s guidelines, but the risk of a lawsuit is just part of the job for him.
“I guess we’d have to cross that bridge if somebody said they got COVID here,” Frank Berner said. “I just believe it’s the risk we have being in business, you know?”