Can I be sued for not self-isolating?

A general view of a hand sanitising station during day three of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenha

A general view of a hand sanitising station during day three of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 12, 2020. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. - Credit: PA

An Ipswich lawyer has warned that amid the growing coronavirus outbreak, staff could potentially be sued if they don’t self-isolate.

The government has advised the public to self-isolate if individuals have been to areas impacted by the virus, or have been in close contact with an infected person.

However, there have been concerns that people may not self isolate if it meant missing out financially.

MORE: What should your boss be doing to protect you from coronavirus?

Louise Plant, head of personal injury at Prettys solicitors Ipswich, explained you could be sued for not self-isolating, but it would be a complex process.

She said that someone with the virus could theoretically be sued if they did not take appropriate measures.

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She said: 'Potentially people could be sued, but in reality, this may be extremely difficult to do.

'If a person knowingly has the virus and fails to take steps to self-isolate, thereby causing the spread of the disease further to another person, then, depending upon what impact that has in terms of the potential damage that this causes, then a personal injury claim could be brought.

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'However, the difficulty that you would have, is that you would need to be able to specifically identify that it was the actions of that one particular person who caused the spread and the illness to another person and not from anyone else, in order to prove that that person was negligent and at fault.

'In a pandemic situation, where the virus can be spread by many people unknowingly, that may be an incredibly difficult case to prove.'

The government also advise that people wash there hands with soap and warm water or hand sanitiser more frequently.

But Mrs Plant said that this was not a legal requirement.

She said: 'There is no legal requirement to wash your hands. However, there is a huge amount of guidance being issued from both public authorities, private businesses and individuals on how to manage and contain the spread of the virus.

'This includes washing your hands and you would expect any reasonable person to follow this guidance as far as is necessary or deemed practical.'

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