The COVID-19 pandemic has affected just about all aspects of our lives. From kids not being able to go to school to massive unemployment, this global health crisis has been detrimental. The pandemic has also affected various aspects of personal injury and accident claims. Here, we want to discuss how COVID-19 could affect your personal injury claim, whether you have one ongoing or are considering filing a lawsuit.
The court situation in California
Courts across California were beginning to ease months of pandemic-related closures just as the state’s infection numbers began to rise again. When the pandemic first started, courts across the state closed for most non-urgent matters. Now, courts throughout the state are handling issues differently as they grapple with how to implement social distancing measures in the courtroom setting.
This could lead to significant delays in ongoing personal injury lawsuits throughout the state. In general, these will be considered non-urgent matters. However, for lawsuits that have already been filed, plaintiffs need not worry about the statute of limitation issues. So long as your lawsuit was filed within the statute of limitations under California law for personal injury cases (two years from the date the injury occurred), your case will be heard. If you have yet to file a personal injury claim but think you may need to do so, make sure you do so before the two-year limit passes.
Most personal injury cases are handled out of court
The vast majority of personal injury cases in California are handled before they go to court. In fact, most personal injury claims are resolved through settlements made with insurance carriers. However, if the insurance carrier of an at-fault party denies a claim or refuses to offer a fair settlement amount, it may indeed be necessary to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and the carrier.
Even after a lawsuit is filed, a personal injury claim likely will not end up going to a full trial. However, the entire personal injury litigation process may be delayed due to COVID-19-related closures. Much of the work that goes into a personal injury case will still face delays and obstacles due to this ongoing health crisis. Investigations to determine liability may take longer, and any depositions that need to be taken will need to be done while implementing social distancing measures.
Personal injury case medical care during COVID-19
One very important aspect of a personal injury claim is seeking medical care. If you have been injured, you may wonder whether or not it is safe for you to continue going to your scheduled medical visits. Please understand that a successful personal injury claim revolves around proving your injuries and showing how they have affected your life. If you refuse medical treatment, this could be used by the at-fault party’s insurance carrier to deny your injury claim.
The risks to your health by not seeking medical attention after an injury outweigh the chances of you contracting COVID-19 in a medical setting. Do not delay seeking any emergency medical treatment or going to your follow-up visits while your personal injury case is ongoing. If necessary, speak to your doctor about a modified treatment plan, but do not discontinue your treatment.
Speak to an experienced injury attorney
It is strongly advised that you work with a trusted personal injury attorney but these cases in order to maximize the amount of compensation you receive. If you have any concerns about COVID-19 and your personal injury case, your Orange County personal injury lawyer will be able to guide you through this process.