At Thompson’s we would like to reassure all our clients that as far as possible we are operating as normal. The health and safety of our staff and clients is our primary concern during this outbreak and as such we are reviewing the situation on a regular basis and will be adapting our working practices following government guidelines. However, we have had to make some minor changes to how we are doing things.

Following Government guidelines, we have temporarily closed all of our offices and our staff are now all working from home using secure technologies to ensure they are able to continue to progress with existing and new cases as normal. All face to face meetings have been cancelled, however we are continuing to hold these meetings via phone and video calls. All the team are contactable on their direct dial numbers and email should you need to speak with your solicitor, please do not hesitate to talk to us about anything during this time.

We know these are uncertain and unsettling times for many of our clients, and the wider population, and things might look a little different for the foreseeable future. But our focus remains on our dedication, knowledge and strength that we provide to all our clients. We will continue to provide updates over the coming days and weeks in accordance with official guidelines and to keep everyone informed of the situation.

As always, for any concerns, advice and updates on your case; Talk to Thompsons.

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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus, COVID-19, and the unprecedented measures taken by the whole of Great Britain in dealing with the pandemic are all new factors in our lives. Much of the advice, health outcomes and legal ramifications of the situation are still either unknown or only gradually being understood on a day-by-day basis.

Here are some of the most pertinent questions and answers. All information is likely to be updated regularly.

 

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an illness caused when a person is infected with a strain of coronavirus. Coronavirus is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Infection can also take place through touching surfaces where infected droplets have come to rest.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease affecting the lungs; it affects a patient's ability to breathe. The major symptoms (as advised by the NHS) are a fever (high temperature), new continuous cough and loss of smell or taste. Sadly, the disease can be fatal. For more information please visit our COVID-19 Overview page.

Who is most at risk?

Anyone can be infected with the coronavirus. However, there are some people who are more "at-risk" both in terms of contracting the virus and suffering the most serious symptoms: older people and those with underlying medical problems, such as cancer patients, and those with diabetes, lung problems, heart problems and high blood pressure.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Overview page.

Can COVID-19 affect my long-term health?

Many of the patients with the most severe symptoms of COVID-19 sadly do not survive the illness. Although treatment of the disease is still essentially in its infancy, doctors are concerned that those people who survive may have long-term health problems including ongoing lung and respiratory problems, kidney damage, heart damage, neurological malfunction, blood clots, intestinal damage and liver problems.

The outlook for patients with milder forms of the disease is still uncertain: some experts in pulmonary medicine believe that as COVID-19 is a viral respiratory infection some patients may go on to suffer prolonged symptoms such as shortness of breath, asthma and chronic wheezing which may limit the patient's ability to return to the same pre-COVID-19 health.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Overview page.

Why was PPE such a hot topic?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has become one of the frontline defences to keep people safe when their job means they must come into contact with coronavirus and COVID-19 patients. Without PPE, amongst other risk prevention methods, healthcare workers and frontline essential workers may become ill as a result of doing their job.

The lack of enough and adequate PPE became a highly contentious issue at the height of the pandemic, with concerns among all areas of the health service, including those providing care in hospitals, care homes and out in the community.

However, as some people with COVID-19 may only have mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all, there are many professions in which workers are likely to come into contact with the coronavirus as part of their daily work. So, employers must put measures in place to protect workers.

For more information, please visit our page on the Role of PPE and Duty of Care.

What is my employer's duty of care in preventing the spread of coronavirus?

The spread of coronavirus is a hazard in any workplace and all employers have a duty to provide a safe place of work for their employees. Some workplaces and some workers will be at far greater risk, but, potentially, all workers could catch COVID-19 by working with other members of staff or customers who are infected.

Employers must seek to protect their workers by carrying out risk assessments and putting in place the measures required to minimise the risk as far as is reasonably practicable. In respect of coronavirus, this may mean enforcing physical distancing, using screens, setting up one-way traffic flows, staggering start times and providing increased hand hygiene and sanitising facilities.

For more information, please visit our page on the Role of PPE and Duty of Care.

What are the risks in care homes?

Initially the UK Government felt that residents and staff in care homes would be at no greater risk of contracting COVID-19 than anybody else in the wider community. However, it soon became apparent that older people, especially those with underlying health conditions, were particularly susceptible to COVID-19.

Sadly, many thousands of care home residents became ill and died as a result of coronavirus infection and COVID-19.

Many care providers in such residential homes found it hard to obtain suitable PPE and this may have been a catalyst in the high number of infections. Click through to our page on coronavirus and COVID-19 in care homes for more information.

My relative died from COVID-19, will there be an inquiry into their death?

As the law stands, unless a work-related fatality occurred as the result of an "accident" employers have no obligation to report it to the Procurator Fiscal. At the time of writing, the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service has suspended any requirement to report COVID-19 work-related deaths.

So, unfortunately, the outlook is that no employer, company or public body in Scotland is likely to face an inquiry or be prosecuted by the Procurator Fiscal for breach of Health & Safety Legislation in any case of injury or death arising from COVID-19.

For more information, please visit our page on the Role of PPE and Duty of Care.

What is the Scottish Government's advice?

The Mygov.scot website provides information and support for people affected by coronavirus and COVID-19. The page provides a link to health advice from NHS Inform.

There is also advice on staying at home, shielding, pregnancy and looking after your mental wellbeing and the mental wellbeing of children during the coronavirus crisis.

We have more information and links to resources available on our Information for Families page.

Can I make a claim?

If you have contracted COVID-19 in a situation where an individual or organisation had a duty of care to keep you safe from the risk of coronavirus, then it is possible you will be able to make a civil claim for compensation for any past and future financial losses.

Our "Can I Make a Claim?" page has lots of information on this subject.

 

In the following video Claire Campbell answers some of your questions about coronavirus and COVID-19.

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If you have any other queries that are not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact Thompsons so that we can discuss your circumstances and provide the support you need.

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