How are Personal Injury Settlements being Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic?
In the future, many will refer to history in terms of life before COVID-19 and life after COVID-19. Never in our lifetimes have we experienced anything so life-altering and, in this pandemic has impacted everyone’s life in one way or another.
While the law office of Chip Nix remains open, we are taking sterilization very seriously and are sanitizing our workplace surfaces thoroughly. We are also following the recommended social distancing protocols and other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
Of course, if you prefer, we can discuss your personal injury claim on the phone, through email, or texting.
Many of the practices of a law firm such as collecting evidence, police reports, depositions and medical records can still be conducted with no interruption to our normal business practices.
As part of the overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alabama Supreme Court has determined that state courts will remain open, however not for the public.
Judges and clerks are limiting in-person courtroom contact and instead turning to videoconferences, teleconferences, and electronic filing of cases.
There are exceptions. Civil and criminal trials in progress can continue and some emergency matters will still be heard. Court hearings and court appearances can be conducted remotely, and our office can set up a conference with the court.
Receiving Medical Care
In order to maximize the value of your case, you must seek medical treatment, any recommended therapy, or surgery. The emergency rooms in Alabama hospitals are still open to provide care to patients.
If your local hospital has some COVID-19 cases, you may be concerned about going there, especially if you are in a high-risk group. But delaying treatment and follow-up care is not only detrimental to your health, it can also have a negative impact on the value of your case.
A delay in medical care will likely delay resolving your case because treatment should be substantially completed before we file your lawsuit or go into a settlement. Not receiving proper care could also be construed as a failure in your legal duty to mitigate your losses from your injury, which could also adversely impact your claim.
It is understandable that you may not want to visit a doctor or go to a hospital, but sitting far from others, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and not touching your face will all minimize your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
With fewer people on the roads, it is likely we will see a drop in auto and motorcycle accidents. The same may not be true for big-rig accidents because we continue to need goods trucked across the country.
Other personal injury needs such as slip and falls may be reduced until businesses re-open their doors to the general public again. Dog bites, premises liability, a workplace injury, being injured by a defective product are all still a potential danger.
And as we see more pedestrians and bicyclists sharing our roads with cars, expect to see more injury lawsuits filed by pedestrians and bicyclists hit by cars. And with many people losing their jobs, it is likely that driving under the influence (DUI) may be a factor in an increasing number of collision cases.
Distracted driving is always a factor in road accidents for both motorists and pedestrians, who often choose to walk distracted.
In the case of injuries, most of us are reluctant to go to a hospital because of the possibility of being exposed to COVID-19. Unfortunately, if you are in need of medical treatment, there may be no alternative.
An Experienced Advocate on your Side
You may still file an accident claim during this pandemic, and if so, you need a seasoned litigator and negotiator by your side. Attorney Chip Nix has years of experience dealing with insurance carriers who represent the other side, and he has a proven track record recovering full and fair compensation on behalf of those he represents.
The last thing you want to do is delay filing a personal injury claim for any reason. In Alabama, we have a two-year statute of limitations meaning you must file your action with two years of the date of the accident. Outside of that date, you may lose your right to recovery.
Do not let the fear of COID-19, courts, and medical treatment alter the plan to seek recovery for your lost wages, damage, pain and suffering. Call Attorney Chip Nix at 334- 203-6669 for the skilled legal guidance you need during this difficult time.