How Will COVID-19 Affect My Personal Injury Case?
The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted day-to-day life in countless ways. At Sam C. Mitchell & Associates, we want all of our friends, neighbors, and community members throughout Illinois to stay safe and sound during the coronavirus pandemic, which is why we’re now sharing our legal insights into how the virus is affecting injury claims across the country.
You & Your Case is Important to Us
Sam C. Mitchell & Associates has been in business for more than 50 years serving the people of Southern Illinois. The coronavirus pandemic has completely shaken the entire country and our region by closing down small-town businesses, mom-and-pop restaurants, and other nonessential businesses. Many people are struggling to provide for their families as businesses are forced to lay off employees. At Sam C. Mitchell & Associates, we understand this has affected so many of our clients but know we are and will continue to work hard to get the justice you deserve if you need help with a personal injury claim.
How Has COVID-19 Affected Our Firm?
Sam C. Mitchell & Associates is open during normal business hours and will continue to answer questions via phone or email and provide free virtual consultations. Due to COVID-19, we are taking extra precautions for the safety of our clients and staff, such as sanitizing the office daily and limiting physical contact as much as possible. We have locked our front door and ask our clients to call the office before stopping by. We highly recommend phone and/or email communication at this time.
Are You Able to Settle My Claim with Courts Closed?
As we will discuss in more detail farther below in this blog entry, insurance companies are still continuing to work during the coronavirus pandemic. Insurance is essential, and insurance companies are essential businesses. There are certain cases that can still be settled during the pandemic.
Insurance companies know that they cannot hope to fight all claims to the point of litigation during the pandemic, which has affected the way courts can operate, as we will also discuss next. Filing your claim, discussing its details, negotiating with insurance representatives, and agreeing to a settlement amount can be completed through emails, video conferencing, and other electronic methods.
Slowed Courts Due to the Virus
To promote physical distancing, many state- and federal-level courthouses are closed during the coronavirus pandemic. There are only certain processes that can be done in most courts and on limited days each week. In injury cases, only emergency matters are being addressed by courts in Illinois.
The bottlenecking of courtroom procedures and schedules will predictably slow the timeline for personal injury claims. Waiting for a response from the clerk or court sometimes takes weeks, but now, it could take months.
Our advice to all of our clients and community members is to act quickly after an accident. Speak with one of our attorneys as soon as possible to get your claim moving. The sooner we can build your claim and file it, the better. We will use our extensive legal experience to keep your claim moving, but the court’s time limitations cannot be sidestepped. They can only be anticipated, prompting you to plan ahead.
Will Medical Treatment Be More Limited Under the Current Pandemic?
With the spread of the coronavirus growing each day, it is understandable to be afraid of going to the hospital or a medical clinic for treatments. Seniors and the immunocompromised have even more reason to want to stay away from any place where they could possibly be infected with the Coronavirus.
Unfortunately, after getting into an accident like an auto accident, you may still need to go see a doctor sooner rather than later. You might feel relatively fine after your crash, but a doctor’s checkup is still very important.
If you do not see a doctor shortly after being in an accident, then the responding insurance company is going to attack that weak point in your claim (even if you didn’t go because you were understandably afraid to get coronavirus). They will argue that any injuries you cite in your claim are fabricated, exaggerated, or from another accident because there will be no clear record of when they were first experienced. With this in mind, your entire injury claim will be more susceptible to denials or devaluation.
To get the full amount of compensation you need after an accident of any sort, you need to make sure your injuries are documented by a medical professional, assuming your injuries are not severe enough to warrant an immediate trip to the emergency department. You can call your local medical clinic before heading there to ask about best practices that minimize your risk of coronavirus exposure.
With all of that said, many general practice doctors and nonemergency medical clinics are utilizing virtual appointments to “see” patients during the pandemic. You may be able to get a professional and accurate diagnosis through internet conferencing that is verified by your medical provider, creating sufficient medical evidence we can use while managing your claim.
Keep in mind, though, that many rehabilitative therapies and elective surgeries have been postponed until further notice. Your primary care physician can determine which treatments should be followed after your accident and which can be held off to limit your coronavirus exposure risk. What remains important is that you contact your medical provider after an accident and follow all of their instructions, whether you have the opportunity to see them in person or not. Insurance companies get the most ground in an injury claim when a doctor’s orders are ignored.
Are Insurance Companies Continuing to Work on Claims?
The global economy has been severely reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic closing all nonessential businesses. As a result, people need to be extremely careful with their finances, which means cutting costs where they can. For some, they might choose to skip insurance premium payments of all sorts. Not only will this put more uninsured motorists on the road, but it will also irritate the insurance companies missing out on those payments.
Presented with the likelihood of less income, insurance companies are expected to do even more than before to deny, delay, and undervalue insurance claims. To try to protect their bottom line, an insurer might make excuses to deny your claim, like saying they need more medical evidence of your injuries despite being provided a clear report written by your primary care physician.
At Sam C. Mitchell & Associates, we are always wary of any interaction with an insurance company when acting on behalf of our clients. We have been representing personal injury claimants for 135+ years of collective experience, so we are well aware of all their tactics. If we get the chance to represent your claim during the coronavirus pandemic, then you can be confident that we will be at-the-ready to counter unjust or unreasonable arguments from the responding insurance company.
Begin Your Claim Remotely & Safely
Our attorneys from Sam C. Mitchell & Associates are committed to doing all we can for our clients during this confusing time, including offering our award-winning representation remotely whenever possible. You do not need to come to our office to begin your claim. You can call us at (618) 505-1660 or send us an email to arrange a free initial consultation. If we think our law firm would be the right fit for your claim, we can begin the next steps remotely, too.
We would like to stress again, though, that you should not delay your own claim because of the coronavirus. You need to see a doctor soon after your accident, and you need to talk to a lawyer soon after that appointment. Waiting only gives an advantage to the party liable for your injuries.
Take the initiative and empower your claim by calling (618) 505-1660. We represent clients throughout Illinois.