Fleeing from a horde of hungry undead is no time to think about a personal injury claim – or is it? Imagine a not-so distant future where the undead walk and you’re on the breakfast menu. Liability is still an issue when you suffer injuries due to the negligence of your undead pursuers. How are you going to obtain the compensation you deserve when the government has collapsed and all that separates you from a cruel end is the sparking end of your shotgun? Our injury attorneys look at liability in the zombie apocalypse, and the evolution of the civil justice system. It might function a lot better than you would think – in theory.
Zombie kids and paying for damages
Children may be the first to be infected. Their weakened immune systems may not be able to hold off infection for as long as a healthy adult’s. Who’s responsible for the havoc these undead ankle biters cause? Their parents. If you’ve suffered an injury because of something a minor did, the parent(s) of that child is usually responsible for the damages. That simple system of responsibility shouldn’t change after the zombie plague spreads across the country.
How much is a claim worth?
You might be wondering how much a person injured in the zombie apocalypse can expect to receive in compensation for their damages. Typically, the value of a given claim depends on the extent of injuries suffered and the available insurance coverage. In the zombie apocalypse, however, insurance could be extinct. Adjusters are out of work, and are quite possibly the very zombies attacking your family.
How much your claim is worth in a zombie wasteland depends on how well you can defend what you already have. An attorney can take an inventory of your current offensive capabilities, and present the evidence to the defendants. Think of it as a post-modern demand package.
You also probably won’t be able to file a lawsuit immediately because of the impending chaos that is going on all around you. It will be important to take photos of your injuries and damage to your property. It will also be important to keep a journal of your injuries, medical attention, and the effect your injuries are having on your day-to-day life.
But do you have a case?
This is where it gets a little fuzzy in theoreticals. The Supreme Court has ruled in several decisions that a party cannot seek damages for the transmission of a disease in the event that there is a waiver (excluding negligence) or the transmission occurs as the result of an interaction between two consenting adults. How would a viral zombie infection be considered?
First, consent can probably be thrown out the window. Most likely, there also aren’t any waivers in pace. The part that gets muddy is in the action of the infecting zombie and whether or not they are considered dead already. Can you sue a dead party for damages? Yes; but you would have to file suit against their estate and you would have to do it reasonably quickly after they are considered deceased. In most instances, you will not be able to sue a zombie’s relatives for damages caused to you. You will need to file a lawsuit against the estate of the zombie before the statute of limitations expires. Typically, Tort filing limitations are not extended due to a natural disaster, so if the courts systems are functional, you may want to at least file a claim as soon as possible.
When is an infected zombie considered deceased? That will probably be for the courts to decide, but you will still want to file a suit as soon as you can. Perhaps if you are well prepared, your case will be the case wherein some of these supporting issues are decided upon.
Another consideration is where the injuries occurred. If they occurred in another person’s home or in your own home, you may be able to sue an insurance company under home owner’s coverage – that is, if order is restored and insurance companies still exist.
It’s the end of world, who cares about money?
It’s true; dollars have very little value in a world where food and water are in ever-dwindling supply. Let’s say that insurance companies no longer exist. As a claimant in this type of environment, the compensation you may expect to receive won’t be “monetary” in the traditional sense. Medical care to treat your injuries could be worth its weight in gold, as would a ready source of clean water and sustenance. A neutral third party, a zombie arbitrator you might say, could help both sides determine an equitable settlement to provide you with the compensation you deserve, while allowing the defendant or beneficiaries of its estate to continue surviving.
If governments defeat the zombies and order is restored, a more likely scenario would be the type of situation that occurs after a natural disaster, in which insurance companies set up disaster relief units to evaluate and pay claims to many parties resulting from a singular event. Depending on where the damages occurred, you may end up filing or litigating a claim against a zombie’s or estate’s insurance policy.
But I’m not the type to sue!
Zombies are people too; or at least were people. Pursuing a claim against those who’ve hurt you or your family is important to preserve your future well-being. The ability to sue someone who is responsible for damages against you is provided under our Country’s liability system. Even under the threat of a zombie apocalypse, protections very well may be afforded to keep still-living people from descending into lawless barbarism. It’s true that if our country slips into martial law, you may not be able to seek damages at that exact moment. However, once the country recovers, it would be in your best interest to seek damages as soon as possible. If you kept a journal and documented your injuries and the ensuing damages you incurred, you many not have to bear the burden of your injuries alone. Afterall, if you were infected, it could be a career-ending injury, and you deserve to receive compensation you can leave behind for your surviving family in the event they need to buy ammunition, food, or a vehicle.
However, this is all completely speculative – right?
About the author
Joseph Lombardo is a New Jersey personal injury attorney. Zombie apocalypse or not, if you’re injured in an accident, you need experienced attorneys on your side to help you recover the maximum compensation possible.