If recent television ads are any guide, business owners across the state of Florida and around the nation should be bracing for higher insurance rates in the near future. That’s because of an expected onslaught of lawsuits against insurance companies and other businesses in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that will could lead to a spate of settlements and payouts – even if insurers aren’t legally on the hook for the pandemic.
Morgan and Morgan, one of Florida’s largest personal injury law firms, is running television ads seeking business owners and other plaintiffs to target insurance providers in an attempt to score payoffs for business interruption claims, despite the fact that most insurance policies do not cover pandemics.
Morgan and Morgan is not the only law firm trolling for clients in the corona-chaos. Across the nation, dozens of firms are already running expensive ad campaigns in anticipation of scoring big paydays. And in Florida, it’s just the start of law firms attempting to capitalize on the fertile legal ground of COVID-19. Last month, John Morgan‘s law firm began their post-pandemic crusade when they filed lawsuits against two nursing homes related to the deaths of at least three residents due to the virus.
According to The Bradenton Herald, “Morgan & Morgan attorney Alexander Clem said the firm will represent at least three families of residents who died at the Opis Coquina Center in Ormond Beach from COVID-19 and that pre-suit notices will be filed in the next 10 days. Opis Coquina Center has had 16 residents die from COVID-19, according to state data.”
“Clem said the firm has also agreed to represent families of residents who died at Suwannee Health and Rehabilitation Center in Live Oak. According to state data, 18 residents at the North Florida nursing facility have died. It was not immediately clear how many families would be involved in lawsuits against the Suwannee facility,” the article continued.
The looming threats from litigious trial lawyers come as The Florida Health Care Association, the state’s largest nursing-home association, sent a letter to DeSantis, requesting that he use his executive authority to provide nursing homes with civil and criminal protections from litigation stemming from the outbreak.
The governor has yet to declare immunity for nursing homes.
Lawyers looking to cash-in on fear and frivolous lawsuits are nothing new in the Sunshine State, but given the rise of coronavirus across the state, everyone from insurers to business owners could soon see the crosshairs placed on their livelihoods.
With much of the state finally starting to emerge from the shutdown, behind the scenes, battle lines are already being drawn. Republicans like Senator Jeff Brandes are already eyeing potential legislation to curb predatory attorneys from taking advantage of the global contagion.
As the pandemic (hopefully) comes to a close, a new pandemic is on the horizon: trial lawyers looking to use this disease to keep businesses from thriving.