COVID Assist
Public Sector

As the largest Insurance and Risk law firm in the UK and Ireland we handle thousands of claims for the Public Sector every year. This claims expertise enables us to offer a complete and cost effective solution for all COVID-19 related claims both during and after the crisis. With more than 1,500 expert lawyers, BLM can also meet the demands of very high claims numbers with ease.  We always ensure that COVID-19 cases are handled sensitively and with consistency of service to maintain high standards of customer care, and with a range of legal solutions combined with client collaboration we will focus on delivering the best outcome possible.

BLM COVID Assist provides a virtual team to work side-by-side with public sector organisations and their insurers who find themselves impacted by the global coronavirus outbreak.  Government COVID-19 guidance has evolved over time and has changed frequently with the advice varying from region to region.  Our multi-discipline, cross-jurisdictional COVID Assist team provides practical advice on the legal challenges arising as a consequence of the pandemic and lockdowns, as well as suggesting future strategies to minimise further impact and adopt revised operating models. The precise nature and impact of COVID-19 on the public sector is as yet unclear. However, given the extensive reach of the public sector and the number of people it employs, we envisage claims will arise and organisations will require advice across a number of areas, including:

  • Front line employee exposure to COVID and stress
  • Injury to employees redeployed due to COVID-19
  • Reduced ability to comply with statutory duties such as highway maintenance and social work
  • Difficulties faced by employees working in local authority care homes
  • Repercussions from decisions made at the height of the pandemic, such as to issue grants to businesses.

Breach of Duty/Negligence

The steps that will be deemed reasonable to have been taken will in part depend on the government guidance in place at the time. BLM have kept a detailed record of this advice to support the defence of claims and we will use this resource where appropriate to challenge allegations in relation to the standard of care provided both in terms of a claim and in a regulatory context.

Causation

It is anticipated that causation with be a difficult issue for any claimant asserting that the act or omission of a Public Sector body has caused an infection, and we will take robust action to ensure that such claims are challenged where appropriate.

Regulatory Matters

We have unrivalled experience, providing reactive and strategic advice to Public Sector clients in regulatory matters, with a dedicated team specialising in matters such as Coronial Inquests, Public Inquiries and Tribunals.

Fraud and exaggeration 

The Public Sector is already highly attuned to the potential for fraud. However, we consider there is a risk of fraud or exaggeration in COVID-19 related claims.  The BLM COVID Assist team will ensure that robust fraud controls are in place for identification, investigation and defence of fraudulent claims.

We also expect to be assisting the public sector with a range of sector-specific COVID-19 concerns, such as:

Education

  • Claims by teachers arising out of potential exposure to COVID
  • Stress claims by teachers and school staff
  • Failure to educate under Human Rights Legislation
  • Provision for pupils with an Alternative Learning Needs

Higher Education

  • Disputes with employees, including over face-to-face teaching
  • Appeals by students not offered a university place or dissatisfied with exam performance
  • Claims for breach of contract from students unhappy with their ‘student experience’
  • Claims by employees who cannot work from home/remotely, such as in practical teaching or research
  • Claims by students in close proximity due to the layout of student accommodation

Emergency Services

  • Front line employee exposure to COVID and stress
  • Injury to employees ‘covering’ for absent colleagues - the nature of such work is that it cannot be avoided, even when the pandemic was at its height

Download our Public Sector publication here.

 

​For up to the minute news and insights on COVID-19 visit our Coronavirus Hub

Who to contact

Paul Tarne

T: 0161 838 6738
E: paul.tarne@blmlaw.com

 

John Roberts

T: 029 2044 7643
E: john.roberts@blmlaw.com