Will Employers face Compensation Claims from Workers' Families due to Covid19?

Posted May 26, 2020.

Although the rate of coronavirus Covid-19 deaths continues to decrease following the UK’s lockdown of large parts of society, the total number of fatalities is still rising, each death representing a life-changing tragedy for the families and friends that are affected.

As the UK-wide lockdown starts to ease as we head into Summer, personal injury solicitors have reported an increase in enquiries from bereaved families who have lost a loved one as a result of exposure to Covid-19 in their workplace. Whilst the Government announced has already announced a new assurance scheme for bereaved families of front-line NHS and care staff, the details are still sketchy; whilst the scheme will provide a state-funded £60,000 compensation payment (which is approximately double the average annual pension payments for NHS staff), it is not clear whether such payment will prevent families from pursuing their own civil claims against the deceased’s employers.

This new assurance scheme will cover full, part-time or locum NHS and public health workers, including GPs, dentists, retired staff and second and final year students taking up paid frontline roles. For workers involved in social care, the scheme will cover employees of publicly funded care homes, home care, directly employed carers including personal assistants and frontline child and family social workers. Whilst this may be good news for some, it also poses the question of compensation for deceased workers who were performing other important roles such as bus drivers or transport staff – will their families be offered access to a similar scheme, or will they have to rely on making a claim directly themselves?

Compensation Levels

In a recent TV interview, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock indicated in broad terms that there shouldn’t be any restrictions on families who have received the £60,000 payment making their own claims. However it is not clear whether the Government would seek to reclaim such payments from employers who are found to have been negligent following a successful civil claim. With compensation levels in fatal illness or injury claims often exceeding £100,000, it is important that families seek proper advice as to the level of compensation that is appropriate for their specific circumstances. However, for such claims against employers to be successful, the claimants must have clear and compelling evidence to prove the case, particularly in the areas of causation, loss, duty of care and breach of regulations. Commenting recently on the new Government assurance scheme, Matt Hancock said:

“Nothing can make up for the tragic loss of a loved one during this pandemic. We owe a huge debt to those who die in service to our nation and are doing everything we can to protect them…financial worries should be the last thing on the minds of their families so in recognition of these unprecedented circumstances we are expanding financial protection to NHS and social care workers delivering publicly funded care on the frontline. We will continue to strive night and day to provide them with the support and protection they need and deserve to keep them safe as they work tirelessly to save lives.”

Workplace Injury Claims Advice from Bakers Solicitors

At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing claimants and their families who have been injured through no fault of their own, helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love to delight our clients when they receive the injury compensation they deserve. 

If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600.

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