Coronavirus pandemic increases personal injury lawsuits, Miami attorney says

Amanda “Demanda” Suriel is a personal injury attorney who was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2013. She was sworn into the Board of Directors of the Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association in February.

The University of Florida graduate with an office near Westchester said cases related to the coronavirus pandemic continue to increase in Miami-Dade.

Suriel said she has been contacted by dozens of people who are related to frontline workers who have died of the coronavirus.

“If you can prove they got the disease at work, it may become a workers compensation labor law type issue," Suriel said, adding that in some cases it can also be a wrongful death action.

Suriel said Workers Compensation insurance limits what can be paid out. A wrongful death lawsuit against an entity can have higher compensation.

“A wrongful death action would be depending on the value of that person under other guidance," Suriel said.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigations could also play a role in how cases like these might be handled legally, Suriel said.

“They are providing detailed investigations into the facility and what happened to a specific person," Suriel said.

Suriel also said cases involving frontline workers are expected to become more common and employers have a duty to keep workers safe.

“We are still trying to figure out what will be an appropriate lawsuit in different scenarios they are very fact-specific and what will stand the test of time," Suriel said.