The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted various industries worldwide, and the legal community is no exception. Apparently, legal matters have arisen due to the pandemic restrictions and the threat of the novel coronavirus. Law practices have had to cater to the clients’ needs despite some challenges and limitations in their operations.
In this article, we’ll cover some emerging and arising legal issues during the pandemic. Keep on reading to learn how the legal community addresses these issues.
1. Pandemic restrictions’ legalities
Laws are made and enforced to protect the rights of people. These include human rights such as the right to live, speak out, assemble, practice one’s religion, and even travel.
On the other side of the spectrum, the state and governments also have the power to limit those rights. They can do so as long as it is to protect the state and see the overall welfare of people.
During the pandemic, governments have exercised their power to implement stay-at-home orders, restricted movements, closure of public spaces, and temporary business shutdown. People must strictly comply; otherwise, they can be apprehended and penalized.
2. Civil procedures
There’s no denying how the pandemic has disrupted various courts. As such, civil litigants have issues concerning legal procedures. Some courts have issued statutes of limitations that can be delayed due to pandemic restrictions.
For example, you file a personal injury case due to a fall-and-slip accident. It may take some time to seek liability from the property owner (responsible party) during the pandemic. That said, you might need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help expedite the legal process.
3. Criminal law
The pandemic has significantly impacted criminal law. One major concern is the spread of the novel coronavirus in prisons and jails.
As prisoners are typically cramped in a prison cell, it’s easy for the SARS-COV-2 to transmit from one person to another. Prisoners can get infected with COVID-19, which can pose a threat to their health and life.
As such, legal admin personnel managing prisons must promote health and safety measures in place. It’s best to stop or limit visitation during the pandemic. The ultimate goal is to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
4. Family law
Family law is one area drastically disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Legal matters such as child custody, domestic violence, and divorce cases have arisen during the pandemic. These are all brought about by home isolation, where financial problems and family issues arise.
Also, some family courts have temporarily closed in many jurisdictions. They will only attend to more pressing legal issues. These include protective orders, emergency juvenile concerns, and commitments related to mental health.
5. Employment legalities
Many businesses have closed, and employees have been laid off during the pandemic. For this reason, employment legalities are sought to ensure a fair and just termination and provide benefits to laid-off workers.
In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued legal guidelines on how employers treat employees during the pandemic. These include screening for new hires while avoiding discrimination, handling employees who have COVID-19 symptoms, and reporting confirmed cases to proper authorities.
Lastly, employers must see to it that they don’t violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) while setting pandemic guidelines in place. Know that ADA prohibits employers from requiring medical examinations. However, there is an exception to this act if and when the health and safety of other employees are compromised.
6. Insurance concerns
The use of insurance has become more critical than ever due to the pandemic. First, businesses forced to shut down can file for business interruption claims using their property insurance policies.
The problem, however, is that most claims were denied due to pandemic exclusion. They aren’t considered since the pandemic doesn’t result in actual property damages. Because of the claim denial, some business owners seek legal advice to see how they can circumvent the law and get legal coverage.
It’s good that some employers took advantage of add-on policies providing coverage for virus outbreaks. However, insurers must reassess their policy provisions by including the pandemic as a ground for coverage. The legal community must take action to make this a reality.
The legal community has faced some legal issues and challenges during the pandemic. These include legalities on pandemic restrictions, civil procedures, and employment. Criminal law, insurance law, and insurance concerns must not be neglected as well. In the wake of the COVID-19, these areas in law need legal help, robust decision, and resilient action. Ultimately, every member of the legal community must continue to uphold the laws of the land.