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Lawsuits & Litigation

Will COVID-19 Affect My Case?

— October 27, 2020

Your doctor may be limiting appointments, and it may be difficult to access services like physical therapy, which may be needed to determine the full severity of your injuries.

If you’re pursuing a personal injury case in the midst of COVID-19, you’ve probably wondered how your case will be affected. Like every other aspect of life in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated some changes in the legal system and how proceedings are conducted.

Coronavirus Impact on Court Proceedings

COVID forced the closure for weeks or months of hundreds of thousands of companies, buildings, and facilities in the U.S., and the court system was not spared. By now, many court buildings have reopened for business, but things are quite a bit different than usual. As you might expect, courts have had to deal with backlogs and delays for months now, and these will continue to affect cases for the foreseeable future.

If you must physically appear in court during the pandemic, some new coronavirus-related rules will be in effect. You will probably be required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing, and many buildings have severely limited the number of people you may bring with you to proceedings.

Luckily, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to avoid a physical appearance altogether. Courts have too many cases before them and are too vital to society’s ability to function to be able to shut down completely. Thus, many courts have moved to virtual proceedings to keep cases flowing through the system, and if your case requires a court proceeding, you will most likely be asked to participate virtually. This may be quite a different experience than you expected, and won’t be without hiccups, but it’s the best way to safely conduct proceedings without exposing anyone to the coronavirus.

Virtual proceedings do present a logistical challenge compared to in-person affairs, since no one will be in the same room at the same time to keep everyone on the same page. Technical issues are always a threat, and access to the required technology may be an issue for some.

Pressure to Settle

You may find yourself subjected to a great deal of pressure from all corners to settle your case quickly, which of course translates to less money for you. Unfortunately, financial pressures are a massive problem for many people in this time of high unemployment, a stuttering economy, and heaps of uncertainty. If you’re in desperate need of money, it may be unavoidable to end up with less money than you might have been able to get if you had the luxury of waiting patiently for the best offer possible. It’s hard to say no to money in your pocket now when that pocket is currently empty.

Another thing to think about is the financial situation of the defendant in your case. If you are suing a business that has been badly affected by the pandemic, especially those suffering prolonged shutdowns, the business may have very little or no money left and be in serious danger of insolvency. In the event the business declares bankruptcy, you may be just one of a number of creditors and never see the money you should have been given.

Tennessee Doctor Caught on Camera Overprescribing Faces Charges
Photo by Abby Anaday on Unsplash

Delays in Medical Care May Mean a Delay in Your Case

Finally, for personal injury lawsuits, it’s essential to get an accurate medical picture of the injuries you’ve suffered, and this may prove to be difficult if you live in an area where hospitals are overflowing with COVID patients and are unable to attend to those in less dire circumstances. Your doctor may be limiting appointments, and it may be difficult to access services like physical therapy, which may be needed to determine the full severity of your injuries.

Visit our site to get in contact with a New York personal injury attorney if you have questions or concerns and need a lawyer to represent you in your personal injury case.

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