Lawyer talks liability lawsuits businesses may face opening back up amid pandemic

Businesses across Arizona are being crushed by the coronavirus and you can add another issue to the list -- liability.

People are suing after catching COVID-19, and FOX 10’s Brian Webb talked to a personal injury attorney about the possibility of these kinds of cases being filed. 

A Bit of Bliss Day Spa & Boutique in Apache Junction was among the first to hang up the hair dryers due to the coronavirus, but won’t be one of the first to break out the brushes.

“I am not going to be a canary in a coal mine,“ said owner Leyna Negron.

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She will wait to see how other salons handle it and if it causes a spike in cases, she said.

She understands the pandemic is putting small businesses in an impossible situation, saying, "If we stay home we lose everything. But if we go back to work, at least there’s a chance that we won’t get sick because people will take that chance."

That's where liabilty comes into play.

“I’ve already seen over the last month or so pretty significant uptick in calls involving people who alleged the contracted COVID-19," said Marc Lamber, personal injury attorney at Fennemore Craig.

He says someone would have to prove that they caught COVID-19 at a particular place, then prove that establishment failed to protect them, setting a pretty high bar.

But still, Lamber suggests business owners should play it safe.

RELATED: Majority of US workers want to stay remote: Survey

"You want to see businesses follow the guidelines. The CDC guidelines. The state guidelines. And making sure that the premises are safe as possible. And I think for business that’s the right thing to do," Lamber said.

Negron wouldn’t normally worry about getting tangled up in hairy legal mess. But then again, lawsuits are always in style.

“I feel like my clients love me, I love them, this will never happen to me, but I also think that’s a little naïve, anything can happen," Negron said.