The novel coronavirus has caused financial insecurity for millions of Americans. This is especially true for those who are out of work because of a car accident, slip and fall incident, or pedestrian accident. If you were off of work before COVID-19 became a pandemic, you may not qualify for unemployment or remote working options. This puts additional financial pressure on you. This leaves you with a difficult question: what will happen to your personal injury claim in the age of coronavirus?
Possible Delays with Insurance Settlements
There may be issues with claims that are settled with insurance. This is likely relevant to your claim since the majority of personal injury cases settle long before they ever get to court. Insurance companies are experiencing economic struggles at the moment, and many have seen their stocks tank as the economy has crashed. As a result, they may be reluctant to pay out large settlements or negotiate with accident victims. Adjusters may even be limited in their ability to offer fair settlements.
Furthermore, the primary reason that insurance companies settle quickly is to avoid court. Going to court is extremely expensive for insurance companies, and they want to settle claims before they have to pay attorney fees and keep a claim on their docket for months. Right now, though, courts across the country are closed. There is no risk of going to court anytime soon. Insurance companies know that even if you are willing to wait until courts reopen, that gives them plenty of time to wear you down or wait for you to run out of money and consider a settlement. If you don’t accept their first offer, they may be willing to walk away from negotiations.
Limited Legal Options
When the insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair settlement, your next option is to file a lawsuit against them. In normal times, this generally inspires a very quick turnaround on their part and results in a more practical offer. Right now, though, the wheels of justice are turning more slowly. You have to wait, continue getting necessary medical care, and maintain logs of the costs you incur because of your accident. For families that live paycheck to paycheck, this wait may be difficult.
Difficulties Obtaining Medical Care
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for those with a personal injury claim is the lack of medical care. Of course, emergency rooms across the country have set up separate areas for COVID-19 patients and other emergency patients. You may be able to get emergency care after your accident. However, you may find it much harder to get the routine and ongoing care you need to heal.
Quite a few clinics and non-emergency specialties have completely shut down because of the coronavirus. Even if they do not primarily work with patients who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19, a substantial amount of people with this virus are asymptomatic carriers. By staying open for non-emergency checkups and procedures, doctors could be seen to be encouraging the spread of COVID-19.
Medical care is a key component of most personal injury cases, so being unable to find a provider is a big setback. This is one reason it is very helpful to have an attorney. They have connections throughout the community, and they will likely be able to find a way to get you the care you need.
Why You Need an Attorney
Not only can an attorney help you get around issues with finding medical care, they can also guide you through the rest of the personal injury process. As noted earlier, insurance companies are a little bit less eager to settle right now. They know that most people will run out of money before courts reopen and that if they wait long enough, people will accept an even lower amount.
Having an attorney may make insurance adjusters a little bit more willing to negotiate. If the threat of a future lawsuit is a genuine concern and they know that you have a solid case, they may increase their offer simply to settle the matter and move on. Make sure you choose an experienced attorney who is not afraid to play hardball with unethical insurance companies.
Are you dealing with the aftermath of a serious injury in the age of the novel coronavirus? You’re not alone. Many other people are facing the same struggles and wondering how they are going to get by. The team at Reeves & Mestayer understands your plight and wants to help you get the compensation you deserve. To talk to us in greater detail about your case and explore your options, reach out to us today to set up an appointment.