The coronavirus pandemic is leading to a swath of change across the globe, and the court system is not immune.
That means that if you have an upcoming personal injury atrial, which can in some cases take months or years to get onto a court docket, the time you’ve already spent waiting for an outcome could be extended significantly.
Delays Due to COVID-19
While most personal injury cases settle out of court, if yours is headed to trial, expect delays. Many courts have closed almost completely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and adding more time to an already extended wait could make you feel pressured to settle, especially if your income has been significantly diminished in the wake of the pandemic.
Waiting out the pandemic, however, is likely a smarter move, because despite the closures that have occurred due to the pandemic, personal injury attorneys are still at work and yours will do his or her best to settle your case successfully.
Pressure to Settle
Settling early, before you are certain of the scope of your damages, could mean giving up compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering, which in the long run could be crippling for you financially, especially so if you require physical therapy or some other form of long-term care to recover from your injuries.
If you are facing pressure to settle, it could be for several reasons.
The at-fault party’s insurance company, likely feeling financial constraints of its own during COVID-19, may not be as willing to pay large claims, and as a result could be more likely to offer a lowball settlement than ever before.
Too, the financial situation of the defendant in your case could also be bleaker than before. For example, if you were injured in a fall at a place of business that is considered non-essential, that business is likely shuttered during the pandemic, and the defendant may not be in the best financial position to pay for your claim.
Medical Treatment Delays
You may also have trouble wrapping up your claim if you were injured but are waiting for a follow-up appointment to ensure that you aren’t still suffering any lingering health problems associated with the accident. The pandemic has led many healthcare facilities to either delay non-essential appointments or conduct virtual appointments, and there could be a significant wait before you are able to see a physician. Physical therapy to help you fully heal may also have been put on hold, delaying the end of your case.
Because of such delays, completing your medical treatment will likely be slowed, making it difficult to fully determine the entire scope of your damages or assess a fair settlement in your case.
If you and your attorney have already begun the process of readying for a jury trial, be prepared for a continuance in your case due to court calendars that are especially crowded as cases that have been previously delayed compete for space with your case on the court docket.
If your medical treatment has been delayed due to COVID-19 or you have been personally impacted by the coronavirus, discuss a continuance with your attorney, like a personal injury lawyer. Courtroom cases, foreign to most people, can be stressful enough without the added anxiety of a global pandemic.