Businesses in the UK’s retail, leisure and hospitality sectors have been some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and the related shutdowns. As the UK looks forward to a return to some form of normality, we will work with your business as you map out your return to successful trading.
BLM COVID Assist provides a virtual team to work side-by-side with businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors who find themselves impacted by the pandemic. Government COVID-19 guidance to these sectors 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 in the following areas.
COVID 19 Claims – Employee and Public Liability
Claims may arise from a wide number of potential claimants, including employees, customers, guests and their families and friends. The types of claims will include:
- Fatal and living (including long COVID) claims for COVID-19,
- For injury arising from changes in working practices, including from manual handling, a failure to provide appropriate PPE, and from converting to working from home
- Stress claims and/or claims generally relating to the mental health of employees
- Discrimination claims
- Unfair dismissal claims, including automatic unfair dismissal claims based on health and safety and/ or whistle claims
Breach of Duty
The steps that will be deemed to have been reasonable will in part depend upon the Government guidance in place from time to time. BLM have created a precise 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 breach of duty of care alleged both in terms of a claim and in a regulatory context.
Not only must a COVID-19 diagnosis be established, but a claimant will have to prove he or she contracted the condition as a result of a defendant’s breach of duty. We offer advice about HSE RIDDOR reporting and investigation requirements and how such investigations can improve defensibility We will do all we can to challenge claims to achieve the best possible outcome possible for organisations and individuals alike.
Policy and Coverage Issues
We will work with you to ensure that we advise you on any policy coverage issues and their impact.
Regulatory Investigations, Prosecutions and Inquests
Our dedicated Regulatory teams will defend any investigations and prosecutions from regulators in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors arising from, or associated with, COVID-19. We also provide expert advice and representation at inquests.
Fraud and exaggeration
We consider there is a significant 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.
It is likely that commercial disputes will arise as a result of COVID-19 and the impact it will have on your contractual relationships. We will explain the options available to deal with supplier performance reviews, delayed and cancelled contracts, and advise on the options for funding a claim.
If COVID-19 has forced health and care business to rethink business structures, growth or contraction, our specialist corporate and commercial lawyers can help explore the options available, including acquisition or disposal of companies or key assets, group restructures and reviews of corporate constitutional documents.
Whether you are a company director or a creditor, our specialist team can assist on a range of insolvency issues arising out of COVID-19 including Liquidations, Administrations, Receiverships, Voluntary Arrangements and Bankruptcy.
For up to the minute news and insights on COVID-19 visit our Coronavirus Hub
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