Can You Bring a Case If Someone Intentionally Infects You With a Virus?

Covid has impacted the entire world. Its spread has not only caused lockdowns, it has also led to legal measures to prevent its spread. It is becoming increasingly common for jurisdictions to impose criminal penalties on those who spread a virus, whether the coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other, intentionally or irresponsibly. The medical malpractice lawyer in Pittsburgh offers help if someone purposefully infects you with a virus.

The deliberate exposure and spread of infectious (contagious) illnesses like the coronavirus is prohibited in several jurisdictions by specific legislation. Others utilize criminal laws to penalize those who intentionally expose or threaten others to the disease.

When it comes to being sued for spreading the coronavirus, the critical question isn’t whether you did it or not. In other words, it’s about whether or not someone can sue you for personal harm and have a strong (winnable) case. It’s technically feasible but highly improbable. It is particularly true if you did not infect someone else intentionally, recklessly, or criminally.

Individuals who disseminate coronaviruses should be concerned not just about being sued but also about being prosecuted. More than a dozen Americans have been charged with crimes relating to the coronavirus outbreak, ranging from those who have attempted to infect others with Covid-19 to others who have ignored public health instructions. Assault and battery, reckless endangerment, harassment, and disorderly conduct are the most common criminal accusations in the US.

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A Virus Infection May Lead to Lawsuits:

Under personal injury law, there are the following possible causes of action if someone claims that you infected them with the coronavirus:


To successfully sue someone for injury caused by carelessness, the plaintiff  must demonstrate the following:

  • A duty of care
  • The violation of this duty
  • Cause and effect
  • Damages

A lawsuit over a coronavirus infection requires everyone to act reasonably so that no one else is infected. However, what is appropriate behavior? Suppose you are aware that you have coronavirus but do not quarantine yourself or maintain a social distance. In that case, you may violate your legal obligation, which is to say that you have failed to take reasonable care. Anyone who knows they’re infected with a contagious virus like the coronavirus would avoid public places, obey stay-at-home directives, and most likely isolate themselves.

For those who are uninfected and have no cause to believe they are infected, this same activity may not represent a legal obligation. Still, it might nonetheless contravene state emergency decrees and other government laws regarding this pandemic.

Afterward, there’s the issue of causality. How to effectively sue someone for a coronavirus infection? It is the most challenging portion. Your accuser must establish that they contracted your disease, a near-impossible feat for the plaintiff. It will be difficult for someone to show that you were the source of their infection unless you go into a grocery store, announce that you have the coronavirus, and spit on fellow shoppers. A one-to-one infection proof would still be challenging to demonstrate, even in this implausible case scenario.

There is no proof that the virus was passed from you to a fellow consumer, even if they can present a security film of you coughing into your hand before touching products. You can’t rule out the possibility that they picked it up from someone else in line at the checkout or a surface in the store, or from one of a seemingly infinite number of sources before or after they left the supermarket.

Once they have proved that your actions caused them harm, the plaintiff will have to establish that they deserve compensation. This aspect can be shown if the plaintiff was unwell and needed hospital care. However, most persons infected with the coronavirus do not require medical attention and may treat themselves at home. Unless the victim requires extreme medical care or dies due to the coronavirus infection, the cost and effort of pursuing a case may not be worth it.


Battery, on the other hand, is a criminal act committed knowingly. To be held responsible, an individual must have acted with malice. The definition of a civil battery varies from state to state, but,  generally speaking, it requires the offender to engage in purposeful behavior that is harmful or offensive and results in physical contact with another person.

Let’s go back to the (outrageous) scenario in which you declare that you have coronavirus before spitting on people in a grocery store, shall we? A civil battery occurs even if there is no coronavirus infection present. Your actions are deliberate and result in a bodily encounter with someone else. Aside from that, spitting on someone is a kind of unwanted contact.

In this case, the significant impact is likely psychological, and without a coronavirus infection, the consequences would be limited. When someone is charged with violence, it’s usually a case out of principle rather than a need for fair compensation.

Assume that your spitting on someone else results in their coronavirus infection. Damages might be more extensive here, especially if the person is hospitalized or dies as a result (but again, with the qualification that the potential for damages would be relatively small if the plaintiff only suffered minor symptoms and had an easy recovery).

Orders of Isolation:

To prevent or limit the transmission of illness, public health professionals use isolation and quarantine measures. Those who have an infectious disease are isolated from those who are healthy. Hospitals, for example, separate patients infected with the virus, which may be deadly. Quarantine anyone who may have had contact with an infectious illness to monitor their health. Legally mandated or voluntary quarantine and isolation can occur.

Oversight by the United States Federal Government:

The Commerce Clause of the US constitution allows the federal government to quarantine and isolate. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has government power to monitor persons entering the US and moving between states for infectious illnesses. The federal government recently utilized these powers to quarantine and segregate cruise ship passengers exposed to the coronavirus and impose travel restrictions and prohibitions.

Enforcement by the State’s Law Enforcement Agencies:

States have the authority to implement quarantine and isolation orders through the deployment of police powers. Statutes in certain states penalize quarantine or isolation offenses. Some of these regulations are particular, while others are more general. Coronavirus quarantines typically last 14 days and must be kept in the least restricted environment possible to protect the public from the disease.

Talk to an Experienced Attorney:

If you have been accused of transmitting a contagious disease or a victim of the spread, contact experienced lawyers at a knowledgeable law firm that specializes in these cases immediately. It would be best if you had an attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state and who has dealt with the local courts, judges, and prosecutors.

Consult with a personal injury lawyer as well. Legal action can be taken against anyone who intentionally or negligently transmits infections and viruses.