P&C insurers may be hit by a swirl of claims arising from swine flu that include actions against homeowners and businesses, a medical malpractice defense attorney predicted. Charles Kutner, whose New York-based law firm defends individuals and institutions in the health industry, said he believes that P&C insurers may have to modify coverage to limit liability.

As hypothetical examples of the kind of legal action the illness could create, Kutner suggested that a suit could arise if a guest contracted flu after attending a cocktail party where the host did not warn that their child had the illness. Similarly, a homeowner could be at risk of becoming a defendant if they failed to vaccinate their child against flu and the youngster passed on that illness to children invited for a play date — one of whom sickens and dies.

“The exposure is there [and] you’ve got a lawsuit on your hands,” he warned. Kutner said he thought malpractice actions could arise because of a lack of availability of flu vaccine, but that he doubted they would be found to have merit.

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