COVID-19 liability protections adopted

Senators approved a proposal May 20 intended to prohibit frivolous coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Sen. Tom Briese
Sen. Tom Briese

LB139, sponsored by Albion Sen. Tom Briese, provides “safe harbor” from potential lawsuits alleging that a protected individual or organization — including health care providers, first responders, schools, restaurants, businesses, churches and senior care facilities — negligently exposed an individual to COVID-19 infection.

The bill prevents civil action as long as the protected individual or organization was acting in compliance with federal public health guidelines in place at the time of an alleged exposure.

LB139 includes provisions of LB53, originally sponsored by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, that implement a health care crisis protocol developed by the Nebraska Medical Emergency Operations Center.

The protocol establishes criteria for the triage and application of medical services and resources under extraordinary circumstances when the level of demand for services exceeds the available resources required to deliver the generally accepted standard of care.

The bill passed on a 41-1 vote.

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