Immunity For Negligence?
Republican legislators are pushing bills that give sweeping immunity to healthcare providers, businesses and schools who do not follow safety protocols and play a part in spreading COVID-19 in their communities. We saw this happen earlier this year in Kansas, and now it is truly hitting home.
What does this mean for you and your family?
Immunity is typically a word without negative connotation. It sounds like a good thing. However, in law, immunity takes on a new meaning: protection from repercussions of negligence. Simply put, Missouri’s Republican legislators are trying to remove your access to the courts if you or a loved one are harmed at the fault of someone else. If your loved one contracts COVID-19 from a nursing home staff member, you would have no room to take civil action against the nursing home under laws like this.
Legislation like this shields negligent entities and corporations and removes their liability by granting legal immunity to them in cases where they have caused the spread of, and even death by, COVID-19. This increases the public’s risk of not only contracting the virus due to widespread inaction of businesses, health providers, and schools, but also the risk of losing their 7th Amendment Rights – the right to a trial by jury.
What is the 7th Amendment?
The 7th Amendment is arguably the constitutional right that protects all the others. Weakening this right weakens all your rights. If the government violates your 1st or 2nd Amendment rights, the 7th Amendment gives you the right to take the government to court. It is that important.
Legal immunity for these careless entities erases your right as a citizen of the United States to take them to court, should you or your loved one fall victim to anything COVID-related. Essentially, these entities become untouchable, and you are left with no leg to stand on.
What can we do?
Legislation like this was passed through the House next door in Kansas overnight, and it will surely go under the radar here as well – because if the public knew that their rights and health were at such risk, no one would stand for it. These types of bills not only threaten the sanctity of our Constitution, but they send a clear message from our GOP legislators: profit is more important than human life.
Call your legislators. Call the governor. Call often. Let them know that no business or corporation should be shielded from legal liability for damages it causes to others through its own carelessness.