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How COVID-19 Can Impact a Personal Injury Claim

How Covid-19 Impacts Personal Injury Process

Pandemic or not, accidents still happen. Essential employees are still driving to and from work. Truck drivers are on the road delivering goods. Poor driving behavior, driving while drowsy, dangerous road defects and more can result in serious accidents.

Not only are there new personal injury cases but there are the ones that were in process when the pandemic started and as it continues.


How has Coronavirus affected the Personal Injury Claims Process?

Please note, every case is different and things can change unexpectedly as the number of Coronavirus cases increases or decreases. This is just to give you an idea of what impacts the virus has had, or may have had, on the personal injury claims process.

Court delays. Many states have postponed jury trials, while some may be handling cases virtually. An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate court closures, delays, reduced hours and procedural changes as they arise.

Keep in mind, courtroom schedules can get overloaded, which can slow down the process. In addition, some courts may only be open by appointment only and some judges may be working remote, too, since they may have the resources to conduct a hearing over the phone or by video call.

An increased pressure to settle cases. Insurance companies may take advantage of the pandemic. How? The insurer may make lowball offers, ones that may not cover all expenses because they know (in general) that many are hurting financially. If you, the accident victim, are in need of cash you may decide that you need to settle your case sooner rather than later. If possible, find another means of financial support to get you through the rough times; it might mean you get compensated what you deserve in the long run.

Unavailable or inconvenient medical treatment for injuries. Obviously, those infected with coronavirus are the top priority for health care workers. When positive cases are high, routine services, physical therapy and follow-up appointments may be unavailable or delayed. In addition, accident victims may not seek the proper treatment due to fear of the virus.

Defendant’s financial situation. You are not the only one who may be in financial strife. Many are suffering during this crisis so it is always possible defendants may file bankruptcy or go out of business.

Slow or non-payment of insurance premiums. Financial difficulties might mean people stop paying their insurance premiums. If this is the case of the negligent party in your accident, their lack of coverage can mean there’s no money to recover from them.

An experienced personal injury attorney will help you navigate these situations and more in order to help you get the compensation you deserve.


Missouri Courts

If you are wondering what is happening with the Missouri courts, here is a summary overview. You can get updated information at the Missouri Judiciary Responses to Coronavirus.

COVID-19 Operational Phases

During all phases:

  • Proceedings may be conducted remotely
  • Common spaces will be sanitized regularly
  • Visitors will be screened to mitigate against spread of COVID-19 in court facility
  • Masks or face coverings are required in all public court areas and during all court proceedings, absent good cause shown and except when an individual is alone in a private office
  • Social-distancing protocols will be followed

Phase Zero

  • Most in-person proceedings suspended
  • Access to courthouse greatly limited

Phase One

  • Critical proceedings may resume
  • Courtrooms and other public spaces limited to no more than 10 people if possible

Phase Two

  • Additional proceedings may resume
  • Courtrooms and other public spaces limited to no more than 25 people if possible

Phase Three

  • Resume proceedings in compliance with local social distancing and occupancy limit protocols
  • Courtrooms and other public spaces open in accord with social distancing protocols

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