As the United States continues to grapple with COVID-19 and get the pandemic under control, people continue to be injured due to the carelessness and negligence of others. Whether it is a car accident, slipping and falling while shopping in a store, or getting bitten by someone’s dog while out for a walk, these and other situations still result in the filing of personal injury lawsuits. However, with the pandemic changing our lives in countless ways, filing and then pursuing a lawsuit is far different than it was only a few months ago. As for how these important cases are progressing and how personal injury continues to in some cases be redefined by the pandemic, here is some important information you should keep in mind.
Seeking Medical Treatment
Ever since the pandemic took hold in the U.S., many hospitals and other facilities have been overwhelmed in dealing with COVID-19 patients. As a result, many have attempted to discourage other individuals from scheduling appointments for various treatments and procedures. However, this does not mean you should not be seeking medical treatment for injuries associated with your personal injury lawsuit. While non-essential medical treatment has often been postponed by doctors and hospitals during the pandemic, emergency rooms have remained open. Thus, if you have been injured due to another’s negligence, never put off getting immediate medical treatment. If you do, this only makes it easier for insurance companies to claim your injuries are not serious or may, in fact, be fake.
Since many people have lost their jobs or businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, insurance companies are often taking advantage of this as it pertains to individuals who have filed personal injury lawsuits. Seeing a potential opening, insurance companies are often offering accident victims quick financial settlements in an effort to resolve their case. However, these quick settlements are for amounts far less than what could be obtained by letting your personal injury attorney negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. Thus, even if you are facing desperate financial times during the pandemic, let your attorney negotiate a settlement that is much fairer to you and your situation.
With strict social distancing guidelines in place across the country, many courts have chosen to remain closed for an indefinite period of time. Because of this, you may find your personal injury lawsuit is not moving as quickly as you would have hoped. If this is happening, do not get complacent during this time. Instead, continue speaking to your attorney to stay up-to-date on the latest developments surrounding your case. For example, your attorney may be using this delay with the court to negotiate with an insurance company. Since insurance companies rarely want cases to go to trial for fear they may be ordered to pay extremely high financial settlements, this can in fact put more pressure on the insurance company to settle your case.
Remote Meetings with Attorneys
It’s not been easy to handle court cases during this time, but personal injury lawyers like The Alvarez Law Firm are using all the tools they can to communicate with clients.
Rather than meeting face-to-face with your attorney during the pandemic, it is likely most if not all of your communications will be done remotely. This can include a variety of options, such as phone calls, emails, text messages, written correspondence, and video conferencing through such online sites as Zoom or Skype. If your attorney is using these methods, it is probable your personal injury case can proceed very close to the way it would under normal conditions. Since your attorney can still communicate with you, the courts, insurance companies, witnesses, and others through remote methods, there is little reason why your case should not progress at a reasonable pace.
Redefining Personal Injury
In the age of COVID-19, the concept of personal injury is being redefined to include the COVID-19 illness itself. While the vast majority of personal injury cases still involve the usual auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog bites, defective product injuries, and other situations, those who have been infected and fallen ill with COVID-19 are now starting to file lawsuits against employers or businesses. For example, if a business chose to stay open despite orders by their state or locality to close and you became infected with COVID-19 as a result of this negligence, you likely have the basis for a personal injury lawsuit, especially if you can prove you sustained various damages such as medical treatment, lost wages from being unable to work, and pain and suffering.
Locating and Speaking to Witnesses
Always a critical component to personal injury cases, witnesses may be harder to locate and speak with during the pandemic. Though you can still use phone calls and other means to speak with them, you will first need to get their contact information at the scene of the accident. While ordinarily, this is not normally a problem, many people are now skeptical of being around others for fear of getting sick, and thus may leave an accident scene before you have a chance to get this essential information. If you find yourself having difficulty locating and speaking to a witness, turn the matter over to your attorney. By contacting the police or the location where your accident took place, your attorney can in all likelihood locate a witness and interview them through a phone call or online platform.
Don’t Assume Nothing Can be Done
If you have been injured during the pandemic and are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, don’t assume nothing can be done about your situation. Even though there are many more obstacles in your way at the moment, this does not mean your situation is impossible. By consulting with and hiring a personal injury lawyer who has experience, knowledge, and has chosen to continue working hard for their clients during COVID-19, your case can move along at a reasonable pace that may eventually lead to a substantial financial settlement. By remaining determined to hold those responsible for your accident accountable for their negligence and carelessness, you may find yourself coming through the pandemic as a winner in your personal injury case.