In these unprecedented times, almost all of our daily routines and professions have been impacted due to COVID-19. However, life still goes on, and serious personal injuries that require hospital stays and payouts for damages are still occurring. Whether you already have a personal injury case pending or have not quite gotten things rolling after a very recent injury to yourself or a loved one, our firm has put together a brief guide that will hopefully answer many of your questions.
What is Going to Happen with My Current Personal Injury Case?
Many courts across the country have shut down physical locations and temporarily switched to conducting proceedings over the phone. However, the vast majority of preparation for your case can be conducted virtually. Your attorney will still be able to request documents and speak to witnesses. If your case is set to be decided by a mediator or arbitrator, there is a slight chance that it can still go on as scheduled. Overall, do not be surprised if your case takes longer to resolve than it previously would have.
If I Suffer a Severe Personal Injury, Should I Hesitate to Call an Ambulance or Receive Outpatient Medical Care?
No. Medical professionals everywhere are taking every possible precaution to stay healthy and safe while still delivering emergency medical treatment. The current situation at your nearest hospital does not apply to whether or not your injury requires you to be hospitalized. If you do decide to file a personal injury claim down the road, the other side could point to your not calling 911 after your injury to claim that your injury was not that serious.
Accordingly, you should not hesitate to follow up with your physician after you are discharged from the hospital. Neglecting to do this can be another tool for the defense to say that you did not suffer an injury that affects your life for more than a few hours or days.
Will my settlement check be delayed?
If your case has already been settled and you haven’t received your check, understand that it can take up to a month with routine delays. As the pandemic continues to impact more locations and services throughout the country, there could be even longer delays. If, after a month, you still haven’t received your check, call your attorney and notify him or her of the situation. The check could be in escrow or stuck in limbo because, for example, all liens have not been released.
How Will COVID-19 Impact Workers Compensation Cases?
Workers compensation Insurance Carriers are required to still provide benefits, TIMELY, (meaning when due and owing, or prescribed by treating physician) and you must be able to access and receive medical treatment. If you have difficulty getting treated, they must authorize alternative care or hospital ER visits. Litigated claims continue and hearings will be held, even potentially by video teleconference, but delays should be expected. If you are experiencing delays in receiving disability wages or medical treatment or benefits, we can still file a Petition for Benefits on each and every past due or untimely benefit.
Some mild interruptions are expected if you have a personal injury case or workers’ compensation working through the legal system. It can be frustrating when medical bills and unpaid wages are piling up, but the best thing you can do is continue to be an advocate for yourself and your family, and press your attorney to do the same. However, the attorney may not be able control things or expedite things. So far, we are certainly experiencing hesitations and delays by insurance companies in discussing or negotiating settlements.