DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Lawsuits filed over COVID-19 liability claims could be harder to prove if a bill in the Texas legislature passes.
Nursing homes accused of not doing enough to protect their staff from catching COVID-19 have been the target of multiple lawsuits filed by Texas nurses and health care workers, like Lisa Collins who spent three weeks on a ventilator and Maurice Dotson, who died.
But those lawsuits are the subject of proposed legislation in Austin that would raise the standard of proof and make them harder to win.
"There's been a long-standing push, it started at the federal level to completely immunize corporations, retailers, medical providers from anything related to COVID," said Dallas civil attorney Quentin Brogdon.
Brogdon has filed several lawsuits over COVID-19 infections believed to be the result of workplace negligence.
He said there's no valid reason to offer such sweeping legal protection to employers, health care providers, physicians and insurance agencies.
"When you immunize, you remove any incentive to do the right thing. When nobody's accountable, nobody is safe," he said.
Proponents of the bill say employers and health care providers could be devastated by opportunistic, baseless lawsuits.
But so far, only 726 lawsuits out of 1.2 million filed in Texas since the beginning of 2020 are related to COVID-19.
Of those, only three officially involve personal injury or death.
"Any blanket immunization has the potential to harm innocent victims and cuts off their access to legal redress," he said.
There are several bills filed by state lawmakers to reign in COVID-19 lawsuits.
At least one is close to approval.
Some of them would retroactively apply to lawsuits that have already been filed.
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