Now that COVID-19 has been around for a few months and Americans have settled into their new normal for the foreseeable future, it is time to take a look at how the personal injury landscape has been affected. You may be wondering if there are any changes that will be important for your case. Unfortunately, not every change will be relevant to every case, but we can at least explain some of the most common changes that you may encounter, including those dealing with medical attention, filing a claim, and receiving settlement offers.
The most important thing to keep in mind with regards to medical attention is that you should continue to seek it after an accident and at any point at which you require it later on during your recovery. There are two primary reasons for seeking medical attention after suffering a personal injury. The first and most important of which is to prevent your injury from becoming more severe. However, it is also important to visit a doctor after your accident because it will validate your injuries in the eyes of the court.
But while you should continue to seek medical attention when it is needed, you may find that it is more difficult to get an in-person appointment. Non-urgent cases may be given appointments far in the future, and some physicians may not be taking on new patients at all. The good news is that for follow-up examinations you may not need to visit the doctor in-person. Telehealth and telemedicine are a viable option that can be even more accessible for many. There is no travel time associated with telehealth and you can wait for your appointment in the comfort of your own home.
Filing a Claim
When filing a claim, there are a couple of points at which you may run into delays. These delays mainly stem from court backlogs due to closures or a limited number of cases being taken each day.
Some deadlines regarding when certain aspects of your case need to be completed may be delayed, including when paperwork needs to be submitted to the court. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that any deadlines will be delayed in your case, so it is still important to file everything in a timely manner. And while some delays may be in your favor, others may favor the defendant.
Once your claim has been filed, you will receive a court date. Due to court restrictions, your date may be farther out in the future than would be ideal. While the court is operating in a limited capacity, higher priority cases are getting pushed towards the front of the queue. And if you have already received a court date, it may be postponed if the court is having trouble getting through the cases scheduled before yours.
Your court dates may not actually be in a court when they do finally come around. Phone and video conferences are becoming more common, so they may be used instead.
Insurance companies only have one goal: To pay out as little money as possible to victims of injury claims. Despite what they might say, the insurance company is not on your side and does not have your best interest in mind. And they will likely attempt to take advantage of the current economic situation caused by the coronavirus to pay out even less money than usual. They know that you probably need the money from a settlement as soon as possible, and will, therefore, present you with a lowball offer in the hopes that you accept it so you can get paid quicker.
Also, do not let the insurance company guilt you into accepting a lower offer. It is not as if the money you are receiving is coming from the person or business that caused your injuries. It is solely coming from the insurance company that is likely much better off than they are. And insurance is not an industry that is heavily affected by things such as the coronavirus because it is always in demand.
When it comes to settlement offers, the best rule of thumb to follow is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting. Once you have accepted a settlement offer, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to seek additional payment at a later date if needed.
Nobody wants to be involved in a personal injury incident. But when it comes during a global pandemic, it can be even more stressful than usual. Receiving medical attention can be more difficult and come in less than ideal forms. Filing a claim can be confusing with shifting deadlines and court dates. And the settlements offered by the insurance company will likely be lower than usual because they know they will be able to get away with it in many cases.
Donaghue & Labrum Trial Lawyers
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury caused by a negligent third party, you have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, wage loss, and more. Do not attempt to navigate the complex landscape of personal injury law on your own. Contact our law office today. Our lawyers are ready to put their experience to work for you.