Winter is here and with it comes colds, flu, bronchitis, and a host of other seasonal illnesses. Many people get sick during the winter months. Shorter and cloudier days mean less sun and less vitamin D and weaker immune systems. It’s almost inevitable that someone’s going to get sick. The real problem comes in when sickness turns serious. Complications from a seasonal illness can mean days missed from work, loss of pay, even hospitalization and long term care in extreme cases.
What can be done when this happens? Isn’t someone responsible for the lost money and time? Identifying who it was and then building a legal suit for damages are two different things.
First, let’s look at what can be done to prevent seasonal illnesses. Then we’ll talk about building a legal suit after seasonal illnesses.
Preventing seasonal illness
The most important thing for your health during the winter months is to take care of yourself. Healthy sleeping habits will boost your immune system and help prevent other long term health issues. If getting enough sleep is a problem for you, plan out a routine that will help you wind down at the end of the day.
Diet and exercise also help fight infections seasonal diseases. Foods that are high in vitamin C, vitamin B, and vitamin D will provide a significant boost for your immune system. Dietary supplements or vitamin pills can also be taken if you’re worried about not getting enough in your diet.
Washing your hands is another simple thing you can do to protect your health. Studies have shown that this simple act significantly reduces the risk of colds. The risk of catching the flu and other diseases also goes down with proper handwashing.
When does sickness call for legal action
The fundamental principle of personal injury lawsuits is proving fault of another party for negligence, or another form of breach of duty. When you’re down with a cold or the flu virus, the disease usually just has to run its course before you return to full health.
However, for children and seniors, these common winter diseases run the risk of serious complications. Colds can turn into bronchitis or croup. The flu gets more serious. Stomach bugs can lead to serious fevers and dehydration. And those with asthma may face more and more breathing attacks.
The Challenge of Fault with Seasonal Illness Cases
The problem with these winter illnesses is that even though it may cost you time and money to recover, it’s extraordinarily difficult to prove fault. The most difficult part of this is proving that the person who got you sick did it deliberately or through negligence. Proving negligence is hard by nature of the season. Because so many germs and contaminants are floating around, you might have gotten sick from the person who sneezed in the elevator, or from the person who didn’t wash their hands and opened the door before you.
When seasonal illnesses get serious enough for hospitalization, it may be easier to build a case if negligence or deliberate harm is done. However, due to increased liability, hospitals will be aware of their responsibilities and do their best to avoid these liabilities. Cases like these often fall under medical malpractice claims.
If your case is against one person, proving fault becomes even trickier. It may be obvious who got you sick, but then the question becomes did they do it on purpose? Most states won’t accept personal injury sickness claims like these because of how hard it is to prove negligence or actual malice. It still is not impossible to build a claim against someone who got you sick, but it is much more difficult.
See the doctor and take your medicine
One huge challenge to building a personal injury case after an illness is a gap in care. A gap in your care might look like missing an appointment or rescheduling one. Say that this winter you get a cold that turns into bronchitis, and then you realize you have a sinus infection. You will probably be going to the doctor’s office at least once, and maybe a few more times depending on the severity of the illness.
If you’re trying to build a case against a doctor being negligent with your care, you have to show you are not responsible for continuing illness. If your doctor prescribes you medication in recommended doses and you don’t follow them, it will show you didn’t need the care you were given. Which shows accurate medical expenses and no damages for you. Thus, a gap in care may result with a significantly smaller reward for damages or none at all.
In order to prevent this, even if you have to reschedule an appointment or two, document everything. Make sure you know how you feel for how long and how well or poorly you’re healing. On the other hand, you must make sure that you’re following your treatment plan exactly. If the prescribed actions are not followed, the integrity of the case will collapse.
As you can see, there are many ins and outs to seasonal illness and personal injury claims. While sickness is absolutely a part of personal injury, proving another party’s negligence or malice is the real challenge.
Do you need help getting the compensation you need? Our attorneys at The Cochran Firm Huntsville have been recognized by the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association at the highest level and are dedicated to serving you! Call us for a FREE consultation at 1-800-THE-FIRM or book one right here on our website.