The coronavirus impact has effectively shuttered a lot of the U.S. legal system and the processing of new cases has ground to a halt. Those who have filed a personal injury lawsuit may be wondering what the future holds and how they should manage the present.
Here are some tips for handling COVID-19 personal injury issues that come up.
Keep your medical appointments.
Of course, this presumes you’ll be allowed to by your provider. If you are, it’s imperative that you keep on the regular calendar of appointments for treating your injuries. We know a lot of people will be scared to go to any office because of the coronavirus. That’s understandable. But if you skip appointments, be aware that it’s going to compromise the effectiveness of your case when it does come to court.
If your doctor is unable to see you because of COVID-19 restrictions, be sure to let your attorney know.
Be ready for a fight.
Insurance companies are rarely fun to deal with and the unprecedented landscape is likely to heighten their intransigence. The profits of insurers are driven heavily by the stock market, which is struggling. Basic cash flow is driven by premiums. When policyholders face hard times, insurance is something that gets dropped or at least goes unpaid.
All of which is to say that insurance companies won’t be sitting on the same kind of financial reserves they are accustomed to. There are 2 ways to recover the money: raise premiums on those who keep their coverage or reduce their payouts in settlements. The latter is the most realistic way for them to impact the bottom line.
Understanding why insurance companies may get tougher is not a reason to back down though. Your own expenses have not been reduced. The cost of medical care pertaining to your injuries and the impact on your quality of life has not been changed.
Insurers know that the need for a quick infusion of cash has increased in these times and they may use that to settle for lower dollar amounts than would be the norm. If you opt to take this route, make sure you’ve discussed it with both your attorney and your financial advisers.
The suggestions above pertain to cases already filed. If an incident happens where you have a valid personal injury claim, don’t delay in filing. Statutes of limitations have not changed and your lawyer will still need time to build the case—they may need more time, in fact, if their own staff has been reduced due to quarantine rules and lower incoming revenues. The courts will reopen for business soon enough and you’ll want to be ready.