covid-19 in Pittsburgh

How the COVID-19 Pandemic may Impact Personal Injury Lawsuits

The coronavirus outbreak is an unprecedented event that has impacted every area of our society. Thousands of businesses have closed, and millions have lost their jobs at least temporarily. Most states have implemented “stay-at-home” orders with social distancing guidelines that are designed to “flatten the curve”, and those who are still working are usually doing so from home unless they are an essential front-line worker.

COVID-19 has impacted the legal system as well. There is limited access to the courts, and the wheels of justice are turning much more slowly. That said, Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman is still open and equipped to serve your legal needs. We are taking all of the necessary precautions and following all of the social distancing guidelines, and like everyone else, we are doing most of our work remotely these days. But in spite of these challenges, we have the technology and resources to provide the same level of service our clients have received from us for the past several decades.

How Personal Injury Claims may be Impacted by the Coronavirus

Medical Treatment

For personal injury victims, their health needs to be their number one priority. This means getting immediate medical attention for the injury and following through with all follow-up visits and treatment recommendations. This helps ensure that they are on the fastest road to recovery or to reaching maximum medical improvement.

Getting the proper medical treatment is not only a physical (and in many cases emotional and psychological) issue, it is also a legal one. Those who are injured by the actions of another party have a legal duty to mitigate their losses by getting the medical care that they need. Full treatment is also necessary in order to obtain the medical documentation needed to prove the extent of the injuries.

COVID-19 has created some challenges for those who need medical treatment after being injured. First of all, some patients are having their appointments canceled and rescheduled, and important treatments are being put on hold. This of course makes it more difficult to get treatment in a timely manner. These are extenuating circumstances, but it is important to do your best to keep the appointments you have and follow your doctor’s orders.

Another issue for some personal injury victims is apprehension about going to the doctor with the possibility of getting exposed to the virus. This is an understandable concern, but it is important to realize that the hospitals and clinics are taking all of the necessary precautions, such as keeping patients distanced from each other, sanitizing surfaces, etc. Although there is still always a risk, it is very minimal, especially compared to the health risks you would take by not following through on your treatment plan.

Court Schedule

Because of COVID-19, the Pennsylvania courts are closed except for emergency hearings, which could be conducted at the court’s discretion. This means that personal injury lawsuits will move more slowly through the court system, at least for the time being. But even with limited court access, much of the other work that goes into personal injury cases continues unabated. In addition, we are confident that once things get back to normal, the courts will resume their regular schedule and get caught up on their backlog of cases fairly quickly.

Personal Injury Settlements

Because personal injury victims do not currently have access to a jury trial, they are likely to feel more pressure to settle their case. With so many people having lost their jobs, finances are much tighter, and a lot of people may be motivated to take a quick settlement offer from the insurance company, even if it is for less than what they had hoped for.

While it may be tempting to accept a quick settlement from the insurer, this could be a very big mistake. The goal of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible for a claim, and they understand what is happening right now. They know that lawsuits are not moving forward very quickly, and they are likely to try to take advantage of the situation. This means that the offer they give you will probably only be for a fraction of what your case is worth.

Times are tight, we understand that. But still, it is not worth it to let the insurance company take advantage of you. The best thing to do if you are in this situation is to get an experienced attorney involved as soon as possible. Having strong legal counsel by your side puts you in the best possible position to secure full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Now More than Ever, Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman is Here to Help

If you or a loved one suffered injury at the hands of another party, Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman is here to serve you, even during the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Call our office today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 or message us online for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.