The COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the country has understandably occupied much of our attention as a society. Never before has a viral outbreak caused large sectors of our economy to shut down in an effort to slow the spread of the disease. This has many people wondering how the public health emergency that was created by the coronavirus will impact personal injury claims.
First and foremost, it is important to realize that those who have been injured through no fault of their own can and should still pursue a personal injury claim as soon as possible. If you wait until this virus passes before taking action, it could severely diminish the value of your claim.
It is also important for you to know that Burge & Burge is still open and available to provide the strong personalized representation our clients have come to expect. We are working remotely and following social distancing guidelines, but we are fully equipped with the resources to effectively represent you during this difficult time. We invite you to contact our office to set up a free consultation, which can be conducted entirely by phone.
How the Coronavirus may affect Personal Injury Claims
Here are some of the ways the COVID-19 pandemic might impact a personal injury case:
You Might have Difficulty getting Medical Treatment
Probably the most important issue from the standpoint of personal injury victims is ensuring that they receive the medical treatment needed to mitigate the effects of the injury and get on the road to recovery or maximum medical improvement. This means seeing a medical professional as soon as possible after the injury and following their advice with regards to follow-up visits, surgeries or alternative treatments, rehabilitation, etc.
Under normal circumstances, someone who gets injured can normally get in to see a doctor pretty quickly. But with so many medical resources directed toward treating coronavirus patients, many are finding that non-critical medical care has to be delayed. Although you may have to postpone some doctor appointments and some procedures, you need to do what you can to follow through with whatever recommendations you have been given. These are extenuating circumstances, so do not become discouraged if you are not able to do everything exactly according to your original schedule.
There are Delays and Changes in the Court Process
Although our firm is still fully operating (albeit remotely), the same cannot be said for the court system. Local courts have either closed or become limited to emergency hearings, which means personal injury cases are going to be delayed. This is something we can do very little about, but the good news is that this should only be temporary. As soon the virus passes and we are given the “all clear”, we expect the courts to resume operating at full capacity. In the meantime, a lot of other work can still be done to move the claim forward.
You Might Feel Increased Pressure to Settle your Claim
Because of court delays and finances getting tighter for many households, you might be much more motivated to get a settlement check. However, it is important to understand that insurance companies know this too, and many of them will try to take advantage of the situation. This means offering claimants very low settlements that amount to only a fraction of what they deserve.
Those hardest hit by this situation are likely to be folks who are trying to handle an insurance claim on their own. Now more than ever, it is extremely important to have skilled legal representation. An experienced lawyer can negotiate effectively with an insurer even while delays from the COVID-19 outbreak slow down the wheels of justice. This puts injury victims in the best possible position to secure full and fair compensation.
There Might be more Uninsured Drivers Down the Road
The financial impact of the coronavirus situation is hard to measure, but most analysts believe that it will be devastating for our economy. One of the ways this could manifest itself is with people deciding not to pay for things that do not keep a roof over their head or food on the table. This could mean a lot more drivers on the road who don’t have insurance. To make sure you are protected, take a look at your auto insurance policy and be sure you have adequate coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists.