The 2015 Department of Health Report on Transforming Care highlights the complexities of co-ordinating cross-system efforts to tackle the root causes of abuse in care on a national level. Published in the wake of the high profile abuse scandal at Winterbourne View, the report confirms that despite improvements in care home management, there remains ongoing potential for abuse of vulnerable care users.
The potential for historic claims arising is increased by an intense media spotlight on recent celebrity scandals. Potential Claimants feel empowered to come forward and seek legal redress. In a developing area of law, the Courts have increasingly relaxed limitation periods in historic claims and found employers and other organisations vicariously liable for the actions of abusers. This has influenced high profile exits from the care insurance market by the likes of Hiscox and Ecclesiastical. Many who remain in the market are seeking to limit their claims exposure by writing business on a "claims made" basis and only offering favourable terms to their insured with robust risk management credentials. It is an area notoriously difficult to underwrite, with thorny policy coverage issues. The volume of abuse claims continues to increase.
In a turbulent market insurers need the right legal team.
What we do
Bevan Brittan has experience of acting for both healthcare providers and commissioners in respect of large scale group actions involving abuse claims by patients against them.
We handle the full range of claims arising from care, including patient manual handling, needle-stick injuries, pressure area/wound care and the incorrect administration of medication. We have handled EL and PL claims where staff have been assaulted by patients or injured during control and restraint procedures. We have successfully defended NHS organisations at trial in a wide range of liability claims.
Case Study: Hospital abuse claims
We acted for the Defendant in an action by nearly 300 learning disabled adults for institutional sexual, physical and financial abuse over 25 years which settled after a settlement formula was agreed. It was described by Master Whittaker as "a paradigm of how serious multi party actions should be litigated". It is believed to be the first group action successfully mediated, with the Judge describing himself as "very impressed".
An innovative one way costs shifting agreement avoided expensive insurance policies and conditional fee agreements. We also provided advice on insurance coverage issues in respect of the claims pursued against the Hospital NHS Trust.
Bevan Brittan’s Insurance Team is a cross office multi-disciplinary team providing both contentious and non-contentious advice to the Insurance and Financial Services Sector. We provide advice on complex policy indemnity disputes to household name liability insurers. We have provided advice to our client in relation to an action for policy indemnity by a care home provider against its insurers. The coverage dispute was in respect of group action abuse claims the provider was facing.
We recently advised Transform Cosmetic Surgery Group in a dispute over PL and Product Liability insurance coverage in respect of a group action of claims. This was pursued against Transform by patients who had undergone cosmetic surgery with defective PIP breast implants.
We advise on all aspects of regulatory compliance and risk affecting health and social care providers across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Our portfolio of work spans hospitals and clinics, care homes, children's homes, home care providers and nurseries. Clients include national regulators in both England and abroad, as well as a string of major providers.
How we can help
- Advice on complex policy coverage and indemnity issues for liability claims.
- Our team of 52 medical and insurance claims lawyers can robustly assess the credibility of claims and handle them with sensitivity.
- Additional group action resource and collective action expertise supported by sophisticated claims handling systems.
- In depth knowledge of the regulatory background in the health and social care sector and experience in acting for regulators and supporting clients in major inquiries and inquests.
- An efficient, commercial and cost effective service.
If you would like to know more please contact:
Paul Taverner, Partner
Adrian Neale, Associate