With Covid-19 having changed so much of our daily lives, one has to wonder where the legal system stands concerning personal injury lawsuits. Given that measures have needed to be taken to protect people, how does it change the landscape for claimants? Also, if you’ve just suffered an accident and are needing medical attention, is there still a way to get these costs covered? Here is an assessment of how to proceed if you’ve suffered a personal injury.
Get Medical Attention Right Away
Injuries incurred because of an accident aren’t always visible. As such, it’s important to get checked out at a medical facility. They can accurately assess your injuries, treat them, and ensure everything is well documented too.
It’s also possible to use a telemedicine video conference to discuss the injuries with your doctor. For lesser injuries, this might be recommended due to Covid-19. Ensure this session is recorded and the recording is accessible to you.
Beyond the real medical need to get examined, it’s also a bad idea to not get assessed from a legal standpoint. The lawyer for a defendant can use this as an argument that the injuries are not real or exaggerated. Also, because of this, some lawyers won’t represent you if you’ve delayed being seen at a hospital because they know it makes a successful claim far less likely.
Don’t Settle Too Early
As any good personal injury lawyer will tell you, it’s a mistake to settle too early before knowing both the full extent of your injuries and the medical treatment required.
Known as the “Maximum Medical Improvement,” this state is reached when fully recovering damages, and it’s expected that there are no long-term medical costs.
As clients of Brown & Crouppen will often be cautioned, getting the final medical assessments completed to confirm MMI status is difficult or impossible because of the pandemic. Therefore, it pays to delay settlements to allow time to complete this. Otherwise, there’s a risk of settling on an amount that doesn’t fully cover all necessary medical tests and treatments required.
Think About Financial Viability
At this time, both individuals and companies are under financial stress. We’ve already seen businesses go bankrupt and millions of Americans are currently claiming unemployment benefits too.
With financial constraints, there are two main issues here:
Personal Financial Pressure
If you’re out of work, it might seem like a good time to seek a settlement early. However, without knowing the full extent of your medical costs, this likely will lead to accepting a low-ball offer that leaves you with future liability for extended treatment without financial recourse. Cut living costs instead to get through the difficult period and avoid settling too early.
Potential Bankruptcy of Defendants
Currently, there’s the added risk of a defendant going bankrupt – either a business entity or an individual. If that’s a real concern, talk with your lawyer about it. While pursuing the claim and becoming one of many creditors isn’t ideal, there may be nothing left post-bankruptcy. Discuss the best approach with your legal team.
Going to Court Will Require More Time
When you wish to go to court because you’re unhappy with the settlement offer, then it’s a given that it will now take substantially longer for the case to reach the court due to Covid-19. The court system is backed up right now with cases, so it won’t be a quick process.
It’s perfectly possible to pursue a rightful personal injury claim despite the pandemic. A valid claim doesn’t change due to the current unfortunate circumstance. However, do make allowances for the added time necessary.