Published on 02/07/2020

Like almost everything else in our world the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the clinical negligence sector. While cases are still progressing, despite court closures and a hasty transition to remote hearings, work has understandably slowed and new instructions have inevitably declined.

 

The longer-term impacts are still uncertain. While many commentators have said that the prospect of large numbers of clinical negligence claims resulting directly from Covid-19 treatment is unlikely, the outlook for many other patients whose diagnosis or treatment for other conditions may have been missed or delayed is less clear.

In a guest article in this issue, Jerard Knott, a Senior Solicitor at ARAG-partner law firm Serious Law LLP, explores the wider personal injury claims landscape while taking a closer look at some specific aspects of the UK coronavirus outbreak that may result in valid negligence claims.

When any new claims do reach the courts, they will find a justice system operating in a radically different way to a few months ago. The adoption of remote hearings has been very rapid and, according to the Lord Chief Justice, largely successful.

Our own In-house Counsel, Hector Stamboulieh, adds his own thoughts to the words of Lord Burnett of Maldon, to consider whether this sudden shift will prove permanent once social distancing is no longer required.
While ARAG has always made a virtue of our ability to adapt swiftly to the frequent legislative shifts that the After-the-Event insurance market has had to endure in recent years, the current pandemic presents truly unprecedented challenges.

Whatever the future holds, ARAG’s commitment to building solid partnerships with carefully vetted law firms will be crucial. ATE Senior Underwriter, Tom Hunt explains the careful process that his team goes through to ensure that such partnerships start on the best footing and are built to last.

In easier times, we sometimes said that the only certainty about the market for ATE insurance was “uncertainty”. Now this is true for every aspect of our lives. It would be foolhardy to make any detailed predictions for the future of the clinical negligence sector after Covid-19, but this does not mean that we cannot start planning for all eventualities.

Whatever the future holds, it is sure to be challenging, but we are already preparing to meet those challenges head-on.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.