Covid-19 or SARS-CoV2, more widely known as the novel coronavirus, has dramatically changed our daily lives. While many things have slowed to a crawl or stopped altogether, unfortunately seeking justice for personal injuries is still a harsh reality for some. One major change is that many might be tempted to settle a case quickly, especially if he or she has recently become unemployed. That hasty decision could have drastic financial consequences. So how has Covid-19 changed the way personal injury clients and their attorneys receive compensation for their injuries?
Changes in the Court System
Perhaps the biggest change in the personal injury legal process lies in the court system itself, which has been largely shut down as social distancing and an upward tick in Covid cases make it unsafe to conduct business as usual. While most personal injury cases do settle before going to trial, many proceed through at least one hearing before both parties reach a settlement. Those courts that are in session are typically screening temperatures before people can enter the courthouse, and can deny entry if someone has a fever of 100.4 or higher. That could mean someone preparing to settle a case would have yet another delay. Some court proceedings, like some Congressional hearings, have virtual components where plaintiffs and defendants appear before a judge via a television screen.
Insurance Companies Are Fighting Even Harder Not to Pay Claims
Insurers know that many victims filing claims could be without a job, insurance, and fearful of the future in Covid-19 times. The first offer they present might very well be an unfairly low settlement. Desperation can pre-empt better judgment, but personal injury victims should be resilient and have their personal injury attorneys negotiate for a better outcome. Be prepared if litigation develops, because victims might encounter stiffer-than-usual resistance from the insurer as industry profits are in free-fall and the economy struggles. Thus, they are protecting their bottom lines more aggressively than they did before the global pandemic struck. That has the potential to lead more cases to trial and proceed further through litigation than before.
Economic Woes Lead to Lapses in Coverage
For those injured in automobile accidents, there is another disturbing trend—lapse in coverage due to the inability to pay premiums. That could greatly complicate seeking damages for a personal injury and make it more important than ever to have a competent personal injury attorney on your side. If you are struck by an uninsured driver, it will probably be next to impossible to seek compensation from the driver’s personal assets. That leaves the insurance company as the only party available to pay a claim, and remember they’re fighting harder than ever not to. First-party claims (focused on the driver) now must be contested as third-party claims (focused on the insurance company), making the assistance of a lawyer a critical component of your claim.
If you’re involved in an accident, it’s important to seek medical attention and the advice of proven, trial-tested personal injury attorneys like those at Fernandez & Hernandez Attorneys At Law. We can work with your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company to make sure you receive the damages you deserve. You can reach us for advice 24/7 by calling (813) 229-5353. Hablan español.