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High court ruling could pave the way for care home covid compensation claims

Human rights lawyers at law firm Leigh Day are investigating possible compensation claims for families who lost loved ones in care homes during the pandemic following a high court ruling earlier this week. It is thought that if such a claim were successful it could lead to one of the biggest group actions of its kind.

Posted on 01 May 2022

The Leigh Day legal team are looking into potential claims on behalf of families who lost loved ones in care homes from COVID, due to other residents being discharged back into the care home from hospitals without having to isolated. They are investigating the possibility of negligence claims against the government.

Earlier this week the High Court rule in favour of two women who had brought the case after losing their fathers in care homes during the pandemic. The High Court ruled that the government’s policies on discharging hospital patients into care homes at the start of the COVID pandemic were unlawful.
 
The court ruled that the policies contained in documents published in March and April 2020 were unlawful because they failed to take into account the risk to vulnerable and elderly residents in care homes from the virus being passed on by residents with no symptoms. 
 
The judges commented that there was a need to discharge patients back to care homes to free up capacity in hospitals, and that the suggestion that every patient should have been tested was “hopeless”. However, they found it was irrational for the government not to have advised that asymptomatic patients should have isolated for 14 days after returning to a care home.
 
The government said that Public Health England (PHE) failed to tell them of the dangers of transmission by asymptomatic patients but it was heard by the court that these risks had been highlighted by figures including the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, and that this was “quite likely” to have been as early as mid-March.
 
The women’s claims under human rights legislation, and against NHS England were dismissed. 
 
Leigh Day partner Emma Jones specialises in representing elderly and vulnerable people, and their families, in cases where there have been failings in care, neglect or abuse in a care home setting.
 
She told the Sunday Mirror:
 
"This High Court ruling that the policy was 'unlawful' assists our investigations into whether it is possible for families who lost loved ones to sue the government in negligence. If we can build a case and one of these is successful it could lead to one of the first and largest group action of its kind.
 
"The recent case looked at the overarching principles and the law. We are now investigating whether or not there might be a case on behalf of people's loved ones who died in care homes. This will include an investigation into the facts of each individual case.This is important because for families it's not about the money,it's about answers."

If you would like more information about this potential legal case contact kbuckley@leighday.co.uk or call 020 7650 1200

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Emma Jones

Emma Jones

Emma runs the team working on the contaminated blood inquiry 

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Beatrice Morgan
Abuse Inquests

Beatrice Morgan

Beatrice Morgan is a solicitor in the human rights department.

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