The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted every area of society, and the legal world is no exception. The courts have been temporarily closed for most in-person proceedings, although many meetings and hearings are still being conducted remotely via teleconference or videoconference. Whenever the court resumes a normal schedule, there is likely to be a backlog of cases, which will cause some delays if you are in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit.
Because of disruptions to the court schedule and other issues that have arisen due to the coronavirus, many people are concerned about how long it will take them to receive compensation for their injuries and whether or not they will receive a lower settlement because of COVID-19. This is a valid concern, and in times like these, it is more important than ever to have an experienced attorney in your corner who has the proven ability to recover maximum compensation in even the most complex cases.
What COVID-19 Related Factors might Impact my Personal Injury Settlement?
In addition to court-related delays, here are some other issues that personal injury plaintiffs may have to deal with because of the coronavirus pandemic:
Delays in Medical Treatment
West Virginia and most other states put temporary holds on elective medical care in order to direct resources toward treating COVID-19 patients. West Virginia restarted elective procedures on April 28, but there is still likely to be some lagging delays as the state’s medical professionals get caught up on all of their appointments.
During normal times, it would never be a good idea to delay/postpone medical treatments. You are supposed to get prompt treatment for your injuries, not only to put yourself on the path to recovery, but also to fulfill your legal duty to mitigate your losses. Thorough medical documentation is also needed in order to prove the full extent of your injuries.
All that said, these are extraordinary times, and these could almost certainly be considered “extenuating circumstances”. While there is nothing you can do about medical care that was postponed because of a government order, it is still important to be diligent about keeping the appointments you have and following through on all of your doctor’s recommendations.
Insurance Claim Delays
The insurance companies are fully aware of the delays with the courts, and many of them are trying to take advantage of the situation by unnecessarily delaying injury claims. Insurance is considered an essential business, and insurers have been operating this whole time, although many of their employees are working from home. By dragging their feet on an injury claim, they believe they can pressure a claimant to settle for far less than they deserve.
Financial Problems for Plaintiffs and Defendants
Closely related to the previous issue, COVID-19 has created unexpected financial problems for millions of Americans. Sudden business closures and job losses have put a financial strain on countless households. For personal injury plaintiffs, this makes them highly motivated to receive their compensation sooner rather than later, and this could cause them to accept a lowball settlement offer from the defendant or their insurer.
For defendants, it could mean far fewer financial resources available to settle a claim. For example, if a plaintiff was in the middle of a premises liability lawsuit against a bar or restaurant that is suddenly out of business and on the brink of bankruptcy, they may find it much more difficult to recover the compensation they are entitled to. This factor is especially important in cases in which the plaintiff suffered losses that exceed the liability limits of the defendant’s insurance policy. In a case like this, there might not be as much available to recover as there was just a few months ago.
Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Skilled Legal Guidance during Difficult Times
If you or someone close to you has suffered injury at the hands of another person or party, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to serve your needs. Even in these extraordinary times, we remain fully operational and committed to fighting for every dollar of compensation our clients deserve. We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large insurance companies, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources. Over the past four decades, we have successfully stood up for the legal rights of those who have been injured through no fault of their own, and we are ready to go to work for you.
For a free, no obligation consultation with a member of our legal team, message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.