The family of a Chicago-area Walmart employee is suing the company for wrongful death after he died from COVID-19.
Wando Evans worked at the Evergreen Park Walmart for close to 15 years. He contracted the virus and died on March 25th, 2020. Another employee died only several days later from complications arising from COVID-19.
The family alleges that Walmart did not follow OSHA’s or the CDC’s recommended guidelines, which resulted in the contraction of the disease, and are suing Walmart for gross negligence.
Typically, employees may not sue their employers for damages sustained in workplace accidents, where workers’ compensation insurance would provide benefits. However, some states have carved out exceptions to the rule where employers are proven to have acted grossly negligent or intentionally in causing the employee’s injury or death.
The family claims that Walmart’s management failed to protect its employees through social distancing and other actions that failed to control the spread of infection. They were also aware that other employees had exhibited signs of sickness.
While this may be the first report of a wrongful death claim for COVID-19, it likely won’t be the last.