A number of small business owners across the country turned to their insurance companies when the novel coronavirus hit earlier this year and left their businesses in financial turmoil.
Many of these claims are either still pending or were denied on the basis that business interruption insurance applies only to physical loss, such as property damage, and often excludes losses related to diseases.
However, a recent ruling by a Missouri judge may set precedent for these claims moving forward. On August 12, U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough of the Western District of Missouri denied The Cincinnati Insurance Company’s motion to dismiss claims from a group of Springfield hair salons and Kansas City-area restaurant owners.
In their suit, the business owners claimed that coronavirus caused a direct “physical loss or direct physical damage to their premises.” As Bough stated later, he based his ruling not on whether financial losses were caused by shutdowns and social distancing measures, but whether COVID-19 particles attached to and damaged the property, thereby making the premises “unsafe and unusable.”
With this ruling, the insurance company will be forced to pay the claims made by these businesses and others related to financial losses caused by the coronavirus.
While this court decision will only apply to those businesses covered by The Cincinnati Insurance Company, it gives insight as to the future outlook of the series of pending business disruption-related lawsuits.
Protecting Business Owners Across Louisiana
If you are a business owner concerned about your financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic, The Chopin Law Firm is here to help you navigate these uncharted waters. Our New Orleans business interruption claims attorneys can review your case for free and help you file a claim to get the compensation you are owed.