How Is Your Office Operating During The COVID-19 Situation?
Currently, we are fully staffed and treating every new case just as we did prior to the COVID-19 situation. We are working in the office under the guidelines set by the governor, and have posted a sign on our front door which states that masks must be worn by anyone who enters.
What Impact Could The COVID-19 Situation Have On New Personal Injury Cases That Need To Be Filed?
Restrictions in Pennsylvania related to COVID-19 have had somewhat of an impact on the way we handle new personal injury cases. We are being very careful to complete the necessary steps of a personal injury case (e.g. investigative work, pursuit of medical treatment, interviews) in accordance with the guidelines that have been set by the governor. We have received many calls from potential clients who want to know whether we are even open during this time. Some law offices are working remotely, but we have been able to safely resume operations from the office while adhering to the guidelines.
How Are Personal Injury Cases That Were Already In Motion Being Impacted By COVID-19?
For the first two months following the onset of COVID-19-related restrictions in March, law offices were deemed non-essential businesses and were shut down completely. As a result, we had to conduct all of our work remotely; this made it challenging to organize our workload and maintain good communication with other attorneys, insurance adjusters, clients, and staff members. During this time, it was almost impossible to proceed efficiently with pending personal injury cases. While the current situation is not entirely normal, we have been able to return to the office and resume operations.
Can I File A Personal Injury Claim In Pennsylvania Right Now During The COVID-19 Situation?
Personal injury claims can be filed during the COVID-19 situation. In fact, there has not been a time during the COVID-19 situation when an individual would have been barred from filing such a claim. Even when the restrictions were greatest, we were able to digitally complete the various tasks that are necessary to initiate a personal injury claim (e.g. email defense counsel, communicate with insurance carriers, file claim documents).
Is Your Office Able To Take On My Personal Injury Case Right Now?
We can absolutely take on new personal injury cases right now; clients are simply instructed to wear a mask and maintain social distancing when in the office. We also ask that clients try to come by themselves rather than bring witnesses or friends. While in the office, we will interview them, explain what will need to be done to initiate the claim, have the necessary papers signed, and proceed accordingly. There is no reason for anyone to avoid seeking legal counsel for a personal injury claim during the COVID-19 situation.
Should I Wait To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney Until The COVID-19 Crisis Subsides?
Anyone who believes they have a personal injury case on their hands should not wait to hire an attorney; they should hire an attorney as soon as possible before an insurance company tries to dissuade them from filing a claim. No one knows how long it will be until the COVID-19 situation subsides, so waiting to pursue a personal injury claim until it does is simply not the answer.
I Was Injured In An Auto Wreck In Pennsylvania, And Due To COVID-19, I Haven’t Been Able To Make Doctor Appointments To Receive Care; Will This Hurt My Personal Injury Case?
Due to the fact that many doctors are only allowing what they deem medically-necessary appointments, many injured clients are experiencing lapses in treatment. However, most healthcare providers are offering telemedicine appointments, which allow clients to meet with doctors and therapists remotely. During these appointments, health providers take histories, conduct virtual examinations, and instruct clients on how to perform therapeutic exercises. These virtual appointments count as real appointments and will not hurt a person’s personal injury case.
I Was Injured In An Auto Accident And Need To File A Claim Against The At-Fault Party. I Also Lost My Job Due To COVID-19, So I Want To Get My Settlement As Soon As Possible; Should I Just Settle For Whatever I Can Get?
An injured party should never settle as quickly as possible simply because they are in a dire financial situation. Losing a job due to COVID-19 has nothing to do with the value of a personal injury case, and if the at-fault party knows that the claimant is desperate for money, they’ll offer five cents on the dollar. Instead, an injured party should seek unemployment benefits and hire a personal injury attorney who can ensure they get the compensation they deserve.
How Are Court Procedures For Personal Injury Cases Being Impacted By The COVID-19 Situation?
During March and April, the courts in Northeastern Pennsylvania were closed and nearly all procedures were put on hold. It’s been almost five months now, and while the situation still has not returned to normal, there are certain things that can be done without client involvement (e.g. case filings, oral arguments). However, it is still very difficult to get jury or bench trials for civil cases, so many private law offices (including ours) are holding mediations, mini-trials, and binding high-low arbitrations for parties who have agreed to let a retired judge or expert trial lawyer make a decision rather than a jury or fact-finder.
There are many ways to proceed with these meetings. For example, records and reports can be entered in lieu of calling expert witnesses to testify. This saves time and money for all parties involved, and it’s finalization because both parties agree that the decision will be binding. With procedures and trials being slowed down in the courts, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a convenient and proper way to handle cases.
For more information on COVID-19 Office Procedures And Personal Injury, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (570) 203-1333 today.
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