Last week, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed the Civil Liability Immunity Bill into law. This statute provides tort immunity to claims arising from COVID-19. A tort is a wrongful action that doesn’t arise from a contract, like rear-ending someone else’s car. But this bill provides immunity for tort claims related to COVID-19, in all but cases of gross negligence.
This immunity means that a person, business owner, or property owner, is not liable if someone contracts COVID-19 on their property. It also provides tort immunity for harm or damages resulting from the design, manufacturing, labeling, selling, distribution, or donation of a “COVID-19 protective product.” It also covers those unapproved products used to treat, test, diagnose, or prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As noted earlier, this bill excludes acts or omissions of gross negligence. Gross negligence is the voluntary disregard of the use of reasonable care. This means that if a person committed gross negligence a court may find them liable for harm or damages related to COVID-19 caused on their property or via their product(s). To avoid committing gross negligence, be sure you’re following CDC guidelines, as well as local and state regulations and ordinances.
Some states have already passed liability immunity laws, while others are pending legislation. Visit this article for more details on what each of the 50 states are doing.
If you have any questions about the bill give your lawyer at Jones Obenchain a call.