The coronavirus pandemic is imperiling more than lives and livelihoods. It’s also leading to lawsuits.

Workers are suing companies. Businesses are suing insurers. Prison inmates and migrants in detention, abortion providers and gun shop owners are suing federal and state governments.

Colleges, cruise lines and even China have been among the targets of lawsuits seeking damages for the COVID-19 calamity. And the nation’s notoriously litigious society is just getting started.

“This early litigation is really, from our vantage point, the tip of the iceberg,” says Harold Kim, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. “The level of litigation could really go into so many different directions.”

It’s a topic trial lawyers don’t want to harp on in the midst of the pandemic, when the U.S. death toll is mounting by more than 1,000 every 48 hours. But their list of real and potential victims is long, from front-line doctors and nurses, patients and victims, to employees and customers of businesses that must be open or should be closed.

Among the most obvious targets for lawsuits will be the nation’s hardest-hit nursing homes, many of which were caught by surprise as patients swiftly succumbed to the coronavirus.

Another industry at huge risk: cruise lines on which passengers were trapped for days at sea, unable to disembark as the virus spread.

More:Centuries-old laws may shield the cruise industry from huge payouts in coronavirus suits

Securities lawsuits are likely to be filed by shareholders claiming actions or omissions by Wall Street CEOs depressed their stocks’ value. Contract disputes over canceled events are inevitable, leading to battles over the fine print of “force majeure” clauses intended to define unforeseeable circumstances.

Even when the crisis lessens and businesses reopen, their protocols – from cleaning to social distancing – may be fodder for legal action.

“We’re seeing a collision of old laws and frameworks for justice that will be colliding with all new facts,” says Barb Dawson, a senior partner at Snell & Wilmer who chairs the American Bar Association’s section of litigation. “We’re in an entirely new world.”