At Jowers-Sklar Insurance, we have had a lot of conversations the past few months with clients concerned about liability related to COVID-19, particularly if a customer claims they contracted COVID in your business. On August 5, 2020, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp signed into law Senate Bill 359, the COVID-19 Pandemic Safety Act. This new law removes liability for others contracting COVID-19 your business if you meet certain conditions. Below I have copied the pertinent parts of a release from the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia and templates to signs that you can download and post in your business. We would love to talk to you if we can help with this issue or anything else in your business.
SB 359 says that no healthcare facility, healthcare provider, entity, or individual, shall be held liable for damages in an action involving a COVID-19 liability claim unless the claimant proves that the actions of the healthcare facility, healthcare provider, entity, or individual, showed: gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm. This raises the standard of care from negligence to gross negligence and will help prevent frivolous COVID-19 related lawsuits.
Additionally, the bill creates a rebuttable presumption of the assumption of risk if a business displays a sign in at least one-inch Arial font placed apart from any other text, a written warning stating the following:
Warning: Under Georgia law, there is no liability for an injury or death of an individual entering these premises if such injury or death results from the inherent risks of contracting COVID-19. You are assuming this risk by entering these premises.
IIAG has created sign templates you can print and display in the entrance to your agency.
The protections in the bill exist until July 14, 2021. The General Assembly will revisit this issue in the 2021 legislative session if needed. The US Congress is also considering federal COVID liability protections that could enhance the protections provided by the state. We expect action at the federal level this month.
Please use the page settings and paper sizes specified above to print in compliance with the 1″ letter height requirement. Letters should be measured to ensure minimum 1″ height. Template can be printed at local print shops.
This message and template does not guarantee legal compliance. Please consult legal counsel for compliance and legal guidance.