COVID-19’s Impact on Personal Injury and Lawsuits is an important topic to discuss. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on nearly every aspect of society and the law is not immune. The pandemic has caused delays in court proceedings, increased use of remote hearing and trial methods, and changes in the process of proving damages. During economic downturns, insurance companies may also be more likely to fight claims or offer lower settlements. Having an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and advocate for your best interests is crucial.
Delay of Court Proceedings
One of the most significant impacts of the pandemic on personal injury claims and lawsuits has been the delay of court proceedings. With many courts closed or operating at reduced capacity, it’s been difficult to schedule hearings and trials. This has led to delays in getting cases resolved, which can be frustrating for those who have been injured and are waiting for compensation. But, court delays do not prevent you from filing a personal injury claim. You should still consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident, even if court proceedings are delayed. (See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 36)
Increased Use of Remote Hearing and Trial Methods
Another impact of the pandemic on personal injury claims and lawsuits is the increased use of remote hearing and trial methods. Many courts have turned to technology such as Zoom and WebEx to conduct hearings and trials remotely. While this has allowed for some court proceedings to continue, it can also make it more difficult to present a strong case. For example, it may be harder to get eyewitnesses to testify remotely, or to present physical evidence to a jury. This is something to keep in mind when discussing your case with your attorney, and it’s important to work with an attorney who is experienced in remote hearing and trial methods. Note that participants are not allowed to record court proceedings. See California Rule of Court 1.150 for more information.
A third impact is on the process of proving damages. The pandemic has caused economic downturns, loss of jobs and businesses, and other damages that may be difficult to prove. For example, if you were injured in an accident and are unable to work, you may be facing a loss of income as a result of the pandemic. Proving this loss of income can be challenging, and it’s important to work with an attorney who has experience in dealing with these types of damages. An attorney like Anderson Franco can help you gather the necessary evidence and present it in court. (See Cal. Civil Code § 3281)
Lastly, The pandemic has also changed the way insurance companies are handling personal injury claims. Due to economic downturns, insurance companies may be more likely to fight claims or offer lower settlements. It’s important to be aware of this when negotiating with insurance companies and to have an attorney who can advocate for your best interests. Your attorney can help you understand your rights under your insurance policy and can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. See a previous blog post on negotiating medical bills after an accident.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on personal injury claims and lawsuits. It’s important to understand how the pandemic may affect your case and to work with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system. Remember that even if court proceedings are delayed, you should still file a personal injury claim as soon as possible