As a response to the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a large number of organizations and institutions have been closing or otherwise altering their daily practices. As a result of all these closings and changes in commerce, many injured accident victims are wondering what might happen with their personal injury claim. While it is true that every personal injury case is unique, we may be able to provide some insight on what to expect as the nation confronts this pandemic.
What Effects Might Efforts to Combat COVID-19 Have on My Personal Injury Case?
Overall, whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic reaction will likely have little or no impact on the resolution and settlement will depend a lot on where you live. In part because we live in Texas, the Hill Law Firm will remain open and we anticipate no disruption of day-to-day business. Our attorneys remain available 24/7, and our offices are functioning at full capacity. Therefore, while many businesses have altered their hours and have made the decision to limit their contacts with the general public, we are as open an accessible as ever, In fat, we recently added texting to our communications. If you have been injured in any type of accident and you would like to see us for a free consultation, you can contact us via email, through our website, or now, via text message, at 201-465-3461.
The fact that we’re not taking a long vacation does not mean we are taking the coronavirus lightly. Like most other Texas law firms, we are taking extra steps to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, as a way to protect our employees and clients and the public in and around San Antonio and Bexar County. This effort includes increased cleaning and sanitization of all workplace surfaces, but it also includes extra access to hand sanitizer and deep cleanings across every office location overnight. All of these procedures follow specific U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and are overseen by firm leadership.
Are Texas Courts Open to Hear My Case?
As part of the response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals have entered an emergency order modifying and suspending certain provisions related to court proceedings. It is important to note that this emergency order allows for all proceedings, including hearings, depositions, and virtually every other type of court appearance to be conducted remotely, such as by videoconferencing, teleconferencing, and any other means that is practical.
What that means is, even if a courthouse may be closed at some point, it is still possible for your personal injury attorney to pursue your claim at their own pace and without interruption, as long as they have the resources. Our office, for example, is equipped with everything needed to set up a videoconference with the court in question.
The Hill Law Firm is also equipped for multimedia presentation, and remote access, as a way to maintain interactions between our attorneys and staff and our clients, and to streamline trials, mediations, and arbitrations, as needed. Put simply, our attorneys and staff will always be committed to advancing our clients’ claims towards a favorable resolution, which is why maintain the ability conduct any and all scheduled court hearings and proceedings without delay.
Can I File an Accident Claim During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Yes. The fact that many more people are staying at home does not mean that all accidents will stop happening. And with accidents continuing, even during the pandemic, injured victims will still need access to experienced personal injury attorneys. You are still able to speak with an attorney and you are still able to file a personal injury claim if you have been injured.
Will the Pandemic Lead to Fewer First Responders at Accident Scenes?
Hopefully not. It is essential that the police and EMTs arrive at the scene of an accident and determine which driver was at fault. If you don’t have a favorable police report, as well as police officers who can testify, any type of accident can quickly turn into a “he said/she said” affair, which is usually denied by the other driver’s insurance company, and juries often don’t which driver they should side with.
The police report also contains important information that can be used by your personal injury attorney often uses to help their client win the case. Among this information includes the names and identifying information about all drivers, insurance policies, date, time, location, speed limit, weather, vehicle damage, witness’s observations, admissions of fault, injuries reported, alcohol use, and a lot more.
Even before we were fighting to beat back the pandemic, a great many police dispatchers had been asking the caller if anyone needs to go to the hospital or if it is a major crash, in the case of an auto accident. If the answer to either question was no, they wouldn’t dispatch an officer to the scene. If either answer was yes, they would often send a form for each driver to complete. That’s why so many accident attorneys tended to work out a deal with the insurance companies. That often goes nowhere.
Will Post-Accident Medical Treatment Be More Limited Under the Current Pandemic?
Again, hopefully not. Those who have been injured in any type of accident, whether it is a car or truck accident, a slip and fall accident, or a workplace accident, want to recover from their injuries, which means it is necessary to receive medical treatment immediately. That means accident victims should have fractured bones stabilized, lacerations sutured, and ruptured discs are repaired. Obviously, in all cases, the sooner the better.
It is also necessary that the injured victim consults with a doctor who can assist with their recovery. A medical professional can get them the therapy, medications, and testing that is needed for recovery. Perhaps steroid injections can alleviate the pain or surgery must be performed. Our primary goal in all personal injury accident cases is to get every client back to where they were before the unfortunate collision happened, and to do so as soon as possible.
Of course, if the injured accident victims fears seeing a doctor or going to a hospital because they worry about their exposure to the Coronavirus, this will inevitably damage their physical condition, not to mention the financial outcome.
We are certainly living in extraordinary times. Many hospitals are being overwhelmed and doctor’s offices are closing. Regardless, however, injured accident victims must continue to seek medical treatment. Stopping or delaying medical treatment has never convinced an insurance company adjuster or attorney, let alone a jury, to pay more money in damages. Regardless of the circumstances, accident victims must make appointments and keep them, regardless of the status of their surroundings.