Home Insurance Getting the most out of your available legal services

Getting the most out of your available legal services

by Lisa Carr

Carolyn Baker-Mellor, Head of Care, Towergate Insurance

In the busy world of care, it is often difficult to find the time and resources to keep on top of any new or changed legislation coming out of parliament, as well as the steady flow of case law from the courts. It is important, especially in our sector that all manuals and handbooks are kept up to date and lay out the correct information for staff. When searching for insurance for your business, you will find that some care insurance policies include access to legal expenses as part of their main product, so it is a good idea to check with your provider.

When and where to ask for legal advice

As with most businesses, there is likely to be times where you need to take action when dealing with staff members or business disputes. The legal expenses part of a policy is in place to make sure that if you do find yourself needing legal advice, you have somewhere you can go before deciding on the right solution. If after specialist advice has been given and you find yourself having to defend a claim or make an appeal, the cost could be covered.

Problematic situations and helpful solutions

There can be a variety of different situations you may find yourself in, when it comes to legal issues. We have identified that within the care industry, there are a few legal claims that are reported more often than others. With access to a legal expenses policy, if you ever find yourself having to make a similar claim, you can be confident that more likely than not, a resolution can be found for your business.

Claims Examples

Example 1: Criminal prosecution

When an insured client and two of their employees were prosecuted for serious safety failings after a frail, elderly woman fell from a hoist while being transferred from a bed they were prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The insurer arranged for a lawyer to fully assess the circumstances of the accident. The lawyer advised that they were likely to be found guilty. Even though the insured admitted guilt, the insurer agreed to cover legal expenses for all defendants on the basis of an early and well-reasoned guilty plea so as to lessen the criminal penalties faced. Without the legal expenses cover, the client would have had considerable difficulty in sustaining their business. The insurer covered over £20,000 in legal expenses, thereby securing the business and increasing their revenue over the coming years.

Example 2: Employment Tribunals

As part of the legal expenses policy, an insured client had access to a free 24-hour legal advice line, staffed by employment lawyers who specialise in social care. The client received detailed guidance on how to carry out a performance review and a disciplinary process. With the legal advice line’s prior approval, the client chose to dismiss a nurse who had repeatedly failed to attend to her duties.

The dismissed employee sued for unfair dismissal, race discrimination and sex discrimination. The clients lawyer assessed the insured to have reasonable prospects of defending the case. The insurer agreed to cover the solicitor and barrister fees in defending the allegations at a 5-day employment tribunal hearing. Upon cross examination at the hearing, the tribunal judges preferred the account of the dismissed employee over that of the client. The tribunal made an award of £34,000 to the employee which the client had to pay within a month. The insurer covered the insured for the £34,000 award and made payment directly to the employee by the required deadline.

Keeping your handbooks up to date

As a broker specialising in the social care sector, we understand that keeping employees and those you support happy, costs down and avoiding any disputes when and where you can, is an essential part of your job. It is our job to make sure that our clients are supported, which is why as part of our legal expenses cover, access to Markel Law Hub is included.

Markel Law Hub gives their policyholders the advice and expertise they may need, when they need it. This legal information is at your fingertips so you can find up to date documents and precedents with no hassle. You can benefit from knowledge and experience specific to the care sector, avoiding expensive legal bills by utilising the templates available and access any time from any device for understandable and digestible information when you need it.

To find out more about how to best approach your insurance renewal, and how we may be able to assist your business, call our team of experts on 01438 739280 or email newcare@towergate.co.uk. You can also visit www.towergateinsurance.co.uk to find out more about the services we can provide to the social care sector.

Related Articles