How, if at all, has Covid-19 affected personal injury claims?

How, if at all, has Covid-19 affected personal injury claims?| HealthSoul

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how all of us live and work. For the first year and a half, law offices and courts were not operating the same way they were before. The constraints of meeting over Zoom created new challenges that judges, lawyers, and lawmakers had to respond to before knowing much about the virus, say Orange County personal injury lawyer Roberts & Jeandron. Because the courts were shut down, there was a significant backlog that is only starting to slowly open up again as mask mandates are lifted, and cases are decreasing. Many victims of accidents were pressured to settle their claims so that their cases wouldn’t have to go to court. As of Spring 2022, though, there have been fewer mandates and more openings in the courts, which is helping to move more cases through to settlement or a verdict.

Delays In Getting Treatment

To be awarded compensation in a personal injury case, you must prove that you suffered losses related to the injury. In most cases, these losses are in the form of medical expenses that have burdened the victim financially. Unfortunately, though, many victims of accidents were hesitant to go to emergency rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic out of fear that they could get something they thought of as much worse. Many people convinced themselves that if they go home and heal, then that’s better than getting an illness that has no cure and has been baffling scientists. Many emergency rooms were inundated with COVID-19 patients, leading to longer wait times to see a doctor. This meant that victims were also delayed in getting their treatment, which delayed the ability to file and settle their cases.

Even if an individual did want to seek medical care, many facilities weren’t accepting patients unless they were in dire circumstances. Medical facilities stopped doing elective procedures, but, unfortunately, many procedures were unfairly categorized as “elective” because they weren’t used for life-threatening situations. So an injury victim who needed a hip replacement or knee replacement after an accident, for example, would be left waiting much longer since needing a hip or a knee doesn’t risk someone’s life.

Insurance Lapses

When people were working from home, they weren’t driving as much. For some people, it seemed worth it to stop paying their car insurance since it was an added monthly expense that wasn’t being used. Many individuals were having difficulty keeping up with their monthly bills due to the recession. Losing coverage complicated car accidents since drivers without insurance did not have enough to compensate victims for their injuries.

Court Backlogs

Court systems all over the country have been reporting record backlogs of cases. Courthouses were forced to temporarily close and limit capacity, which also temporarily halted jury trials. By limiting who was allowed in, they were not able to function efficiently. When workers such as clerks contracted the COVID-19 virus, then those courthouses had to close and be extensively cleaned. When attorneys caught the virus themselves, they rescheduled hearings with their clients. This has resulted in cases that would usually take two or three months lasting a year. Even though lawyers and judges have ethical obligations to uphold both state constitutions and the US Constitution, trying to balance protections and the rights of plaintiffs and defendants is extremely challenging.

The judicial systems will catch up, but it’s going to take some time. The best thing someone can do if they are waiting for their personal injury case to settle is to stay in constant contact with their attorney and to promptly respond to any requests for documents or records. You should also notify your attorney immediately of any mailings or phone calls that you receive about your case, whether they’re from the insurance company, hospital or any other third party contacting you about matters related to your accident.