COVID-19 Liability Considerations

General News

Following recent government advice, we are aware that more businesses are starting to resume operations however, this raises liability concerns and increases the possibility of an increase in both Public and Employers Liability claims. It is therefore vital that employers consider what they need to do to make the workplace safe, including how employees will get to work, how social distancing measures will be adhered to and how employees can work safely, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.  

Here, we aim to provide employers with advice regarding their potential liabilities and how their insurance cover may react to COVID-19:

• Public Liability insurance – Public Liability insurance protects your business from financial loss should you be liable for property damage or personal injury caused by your services, business operations or employees. It can protect you from costs associated with bodily injuries, damage to third-party property, personal injuries, medical expenses, legal concerns and more. When it comes to COVID-19, Public Liability policies should provide cover and allow you to defend yourself against claims. However, in order for a claim to be valid, the claimant would have to allege the disease was contracted due to the insured’s negligence and detail how, when and where they got sick – which could be difficult.

• Employers’ Liability insurance – In instances where an employee believes they contracted COVID-19 at work, a number of Employers’ Liability concerns come into play. Notably, when it comes to workplace illnesses, most claims are only valid if the illness is occupational in nature. With this in mind, contagious diseases are generally excluded from Employers’ Liability policies. However, cover may be triggered if the illness arose due to, or in the course of the worker’s employment. Establishing causation in an Employers Liability claim will be especially difficult given the potential for other means of contraction of the disease outside of the workplace, such as visiting supermarkets or during their daily exercise if social distancing measures are not adhered to. In order to pursue a successful Employment Liability claim, the claimant would have to detail how, when and where they got sick in the course of employment – which again, could be difficult.

If you have any insurance concerns, or would like further insurance advice, please get in touch with our expert team who will be happy to help.