How Will COVID-19 Affect My Accident Injury Claim?
As we head into the second month of the COVID-19 crisis, many people are anxious about how different areas of their life will be impacted. If you have an ongoing accident injury claim, you are likely concerned about court shutdowns and law firm closures. Whether you are handling an existing injury claim, or you’ve been hurt during this time and you want to know your options, find out how COVID-19 could affect your accident injury claim.
Court Closures and Your Current Claim
Courts around the country are closed indefinitely except for emergency proceedings, leaving many in the midst of family, criminal, and personal injury cases concerned about what comes next. If your personal injury claim does have to go to court, it’s likely that you will be waiting quite a bit longer for any resolution to your case. When courts do reopen, judges’ dockets will likely be filled with backlogged cases, and it could take months to work through that backlog and get the court running as normal again.
All that said, it is important to remember one key fact about personal injury claims; very few actually go to court. Going to court adds an element of risk for both parties, and in most situations, both parties benefit by settling the issues outside the courtroom. If your lawyer successfully negotiates a fair settlement on your behalf, the court shutdown could have a minimal impact on your personal injury claim.
How Insurance Companies Will Use This to Their Advantage
Insurance companies are always looking for ways to decrease payouts and boost their bottom lines, and a crisis like COVID-19 gives them an opportunity to do both. Insurance adjusters know you don’t want to go to court, and they know you especially don’t want to go to court when doing so could mean waiting months for a payout.
They may use this information to negotiate more aggressively and hold back on offering more money. They will bluff that they cannot give more and are willing to handle the matter in court, knowing that most people will back down and accept a lowball settlement.
Does this mean you have to buckle and accept a low offer? No. But it does make it all the more important to have an experienced attorney on your side throughout this process. Seasoned attorneys know how insurance companies use situations like this one to help themselves, and they know what it takes to bring them back to the negotiating table.
Remember, it is also bad for insurance companies to have claims sit for months while they wait for a court date. They want to close the claim, write off the amount, and move on. Your attorney can use factors like these that work in your favor to secure a fair settlement.
New Injury Claims
The process may be more challenging for those who suffer injuries during this time and need to seek compensation. Finding a lawyer is the easy part. Even though most law firms have their offices closed, the attorneys themselves are still working from home. You may be able to get your case started with a phone consultation or video conference.
However, personal injury claims rely heavily on medical evidence and treatment to determine the severity of your injury and the expenses related to it. Many medical clinics and hospital departments are closed right now to limit unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 patients and to free up medical staff to help out in the ICU/ER as needed. This may make it difficult to get your injury assessed, and ongoing treatment may be even more challenging to secure. As a result, your case could drag on indefinitely until medical care becomes more widely accessible again.
For the best outcome, work with an experienced injury attorney that has contacts throughout your community. They understand the importance of medical treatments for a PI claim, and they may be able to find doctors who are still providing necessary screenings, assessments, and treatments during this time.
Getting What You Deserve
This process may be longer than you once expected, but don’t lose hope. COVID-19 won’t last forever, and neither will your personal injury case. Despite court closures and other business closures, the legal system is still quite efficient during this time.
As we touched on earlier, while it is always recommended that you work with an attorney for personal injury matters, it is even more important during this time. Trying to handle your own claim could be very costly.
Insurance companies aren’t going to spend time haggling with individual victims when their case count is growing by the minute, so you could be forced to accept a low settlement or lose your chance of receiving any settlement. If you hire an attorney, they know you are serious about your claim and that they should come to the table ready to play fair if they want to close it out.
If you need assistance with a personal injury claim, we are here for you. Reach out to the team at Pack Law Group to discuss your legal needs today.