Wrongful Death Lawsuit Brought by Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Who Lost Husband to COVID-19
As reported by thehill.com, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her employer after she attended a training session that she says exposed her – and indirectly her husband – to Covid-19. The suit alleges that the company’s lax Covid-19 protocols and contact tracing efforts eventually led to the death of her husband. Covid pneumonia was listed as the primary cause of death. Sixty-nine-year-old Carol Madden, filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Maryland; she is seeking more than $3 million in damages for the wrongful death of her then 73-year-old husband.
Wrongful death lawsuit brought by Southwest Airlines flight attendant
According to the complaint, Southwest Airlines’ rigorous cleaning safety protocols used for passengers were not applied to employees during the mandatory training session. In addition, attendees were allegedly not screened for Covid-19 symptoms before or during the daylong training, nor were they asked about potential exposure before the training session. While attendees were required to wear masks, hand sanitizer was not provided and shared equipment was not initially sanitized between use. Attendees were also not able to maintain six-feet of distance. The suit also alleges that Southwest failed to notify other training attendees that a woman who participated in the training – and who sat at the same table as Madden – tested positive for Covid-19 after she got home from the event. The lawsuit states that had she known, Madden would have isolated from her husband.
The airline has responded with a statement: “The claims asserted in the complaint reflect an understandably emotional response to a devastating personal loss, but they are not actionable under the law.”
Can wrongful death lawsuits for COVID-19 be successful?
Like any wrongful death claim, the bar is set very high. Proving that a person or organization is liable for a death caused by Coronavirus will be a challenge.
The biggest issue is that it is difficult to prove the point of infection. How can a person prove that they became infected at their workplace? Wrongful death lawyers will not take on a case unless they can create a compelling argument that the person contracted the virus at their workplace. They will build on the evidence by showing that the business or organization failed to provide proper personal protective equipment, didn’t provide a sanitary working environment and put their employees in danger.
The second issue is that there are so many gig workers today. Are gig workers who die from coronavirus able to file a suit against the company they earn a living through? Gig workers are contract workers and not direct employees and there is some question as to whether gig workers could bring a successful wrongful death suit against a company such as DoorDash.
If your spouse or registered domestic partner has died from Coronavirus, seek the legal advice of a local wrongful death attorney who can look at the details of your case. Minor children may also be able to bring a suit through a representative of the estate.
Seek the help of a wrongful death attorney
If you lost a loved one due to a preventable medical error or the reckless/negligent behavior of another, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced wrongful death attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a wrongful death lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing wrongful death attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing grieving family members in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!