Protection From Liability Under the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act
August 17th, 2020
Contributor: Emma Schott, Law Clerk
On August 5, 2020, Georgia Governor Kemp signed into effect the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act. With adoption of the new law, the State of Georgia joined other states, including Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming, in enacting COVID-19-related liability protections.
Liability Protection Against COVID-19 Claims in Georgia
Except for actions of “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm,” the Act protects individuals and entities — including healthcare facilities, healthcare providers, and businesses — from liability claims arising from:
- “Transmission, infection, exposure, or potential exposure of COVID-19 to a claimant” resulting in the claimant’s injury or death; or
- “Acts or omissions by a healthcare facility or healthcare provider” resulting in the claimant’s injury or death, or where “the response to COVID-19 reasonably interfered” with the arrangement or provision of healthcare services to the claimant; or
- “Manufacturing, labeling, donating, or distributing personal protective equipment or sanitizer” that proximately results in the claimant’s injury or death.
Rebuttable Presumption of Assumption of the Risk
For covered claims, the statute creates a rebuttable presumption of assumption of the risk by a claimant when a covered individual or entity provides one of two warnings. The first option is to post a sign at points of entry to premises, which states in at least 1-inch Arial font:
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.
In the alternative, the covered entity may provide the following warning, in at least 10-point Arial font, on any receipt or proof of purchase that may be required for entry or attendance on the covered entity’s premises:
Any person entering the premises waives all civil liability against this premises owner and operator for any injuries caused by the inherent risk associated with contracting COVID-19 at public gatherings, except for gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm, by the individual or entity of the premises.
These provisional warnings supplement other liability immunities already provided under Georgia law. The Act applies to causes of action accruing until July 14, 2021.
Talk with Our Experienced Atlanta Business Management & Operations Attorneys
If you have questions or concerns about the new law or would like to discuss your options for protecting against COVID-19 claims, we invite you to contact our attorneys at Mitchell - Handschuh Law Group by calling (404) 262-9488 or using our online contact form.
We provide a comprehensive range of legal services for transportation and logistics companies, including business management and operational support. We welcome inquiries about our business management practice, as well as our other legal services for transportation companies. Our attorneys assist clients with legal matters in Metro Atlanta, throughout the State of Georgia, and in other states.