It is no secret that the Coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Practices and procedures that were the norm have completely changed, and this includes those relating to personal injury lawsuits. Along with the rest of the world, courts and lawyers have had to embrace drastic measures to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of these measures are meant to keep things running, as they wait out the crisis. Sadly, these new norms can affect the outcome of your personal injury lawsuit. However, by taking the right steps, you can reduce these effects while ensuring you get fair compensation in your case.
Here are some insights to help you navigate your personal injury case, through these unprecedented times:
Seek Medical Attention Immediately Following Injury
Seeking medical attention early so that your injuries can be assessed and documented will strengthen your lawsuit and make it easier to mitigate further injuries. If you delay seeking medical attention, the defendant’s lawyers might argue that your injuries are exaggerated or fabricated. Also, keep in mind that delayed treatment or incorrect facts about your injuries are some of the reasons why a personal injury lawyer will not represent you in your case.
With the current situation, medical facilities for non-emergency cases might be hard to find. This means it can be harder to get face-to-face appointments with a medical professional, unless your injuries require immediate attention. However, most medical facilities are offering telemedicine as an alternative to assess injuries. Be sure to call or video conference a doctor who can help record your current medical situation to strengthen your case.
Avoid Settling Until You Reach MMI
Reaching MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement) will offer you a clear picture of the injuries that occurred, increasing your chances of a fair trial. You reach MMI by either having recovered from the injury completely or having enough information about your future health following the injury. If you settle your injury claim before reaching MMI, you take liability for any injury-related medical condition that shows up after the settlement.
However, reaching MMI will require you to go through therapies and appointments to assess your current well-being. Health care providers may not be offering these assessments and therapies during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you can afford to delay your settlement, do so until you can prove that you have reached MMI.
Consider the Financial Situation for All Parties before Settling
The question of whether to settle your injury claim or not also hinges on the financial situation of all parties involved. You may be experiencing financial difficulty due to the Coronavirus as well, creating pressure to settle for the most recent offer. If you can, avoid settling your claim if it is not a fair settlement.
This pandemic has taken a toll on the personal and corporate finances of many individuals and businesses, many of which have filed for bankruptcy. So, you should also consider the financial situation of your defendant. If the defendant can’t pay, you will be added to the list of creditors to whom they owe money. Such a situation will further limit your compensation amount. In case you fear such a situation might occur, consider discussing it with your lawyer to navigate the best way forward.
Be Prepared For Delays with the Court System
Just like other businesses, the court has also had to restructure its pre-pandemic practices. Your lawsuit might be pushed further down their calendar, but every case will eventually be heard. Some courts will handle your case through mandatory settlement conferences, status conferences, or summary judgment hearings. Be patient while lobbying your lawyers to push the court for a hearing.
While the Coronavirus might only be temporary, you will have to live with the effects of your personal injury forever. Try to approach your situation without the pressure of the pandemic clouding your decision-making. Take your time to assess the long-term consequences of every choice you make, to avoid any regrets in the future.