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The Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our everyday life.  Some things have been put on hold or delayed.  While we continue to navigate the difficult circumstances and delays caused by precautions in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, people are continuing to suffer injuries in car accidents, in pedestrian and bicycle accidents, due to slip-and-falls, due to defective products as well as many other accidents caused by the fault of another.

Injured parties can bring personal-injury claims to seek compensation for their injuries even during the COVID-19 outbreak. After a period of closure, the Pennsylvania courts have re-opened. As part of a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, courts, insurance entities and attorneys are practicing social distancing and conducting their work by telephone, video conferences and emails.

Tips to remember if you sustain an injury due to the fault of another

COVID-19 has changed the environment for handling personal injury claims from the scene of the accident to the courtroom.  At the injury scene, it is still essential you gather information to assist with your claim, but because of social distancing and the risk of catching the virus, this is more difficult.

Fortunately, cell phones make it possible to capture details on the camera while maintaining social distancing. If you are involved in an accident and need urgent medical attention, it is important that you do not delay seeking treatment.  It may be possible to have your injuries assessed by a medical professional through a telehealth visit.

Holding a virtual consultation by videoconference with your medical professional will allow you to obtain an injury report and a treatment plan.  However, if you have been seriously injured, it is imperative that in person medical help is sought.  Although we are living in unusual times, the basics of making a successful claim for personal injury have not changed.  You should remember the following tips:

  • Document and gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene.

Unless you need immediate medical attention, you should still try to gather the information you will need to pursue a claim when your accident happens. If you are in a car accident and do not need immediate medical attention for your injures, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident location and the damage to the vehicles involved. Take pictures of the other driver’s contact information and insurance details or write this information down.

If there are witnesses to the accident or people who stopped to help, have them provide you with their names and phone numbers via a text message or email.  Gathering this type of information is not just important for automobile accidents, but also when you suffer injuries from a slip or trip-and-fall, a pedestrian or bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, or due to a defective product.

  • Seek medical attention quickly.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be hesitant to go to the emergency room or seek treatment from a healthcare professional. Failing to seek treatment could have a long-term impact on your health. When you seek treatment, you should keep a list of the medical facilities and medical providers you have seen and the treatment that has being recommended. While you might have gone to an Emergency Room for an acute injury your PCP may be able to see you the same day due there being less urgent appointments any given day for a doctor’s office due to Pandemic.

  • Discuss your case with an experienced lawyer.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to assess the impact of your injury on your life and work.  He or she will be able to investigate all sources of potential recovery to compensate you for the injuries you have sustained.  Retaining an experienced lawyer will ensure that your case is presented in the best possible way and that you obtain full value for your claim.

  • Do not delay in pursuing your claim.

It is still important to not delay seeking legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney if you sustain an injury due to the fault of another.  Delaying a consultation with an attorney can have a detrimental effect on the outcome of your case.

The dedicated and experienced attorneys at Caroselli Beachler & Coleman are committed to helping you with your personal injury claim during these trying times.  The personal injury attorneys at Caroselli Beachler & Coleman are available conduct a virtual consultation to discuss your claim over the phone, by a video-based call or by email.  We are committed to complying with all state guidelines and taking precautionary steps to protect our clients and our staff.

COVID-19 and the restrictions that are currently in place due to this pandemic should not affect your right to claim compensation for personal injuries which may be an integral part of maintaining your financial stability during these uncertain times.  The attorneys at Caroselli Beachler & Coleman are committed to working with you to obtain a successful outcome. Contact our firm today at (866) 466-5789 or through our website contact form.

COVID-19 – Related Changes in Trucking Regulations Could Result in More Truck Accidents

The coronavirus has caused numerous businesses to close, but in industries that are considered “essential”, demand has skyrocketed. This is particularly true with groceries (toilet paper and hand sanitizer in particular), medical supplies, the raw materials needed to manufacture these supplies, and many others. The need to transport essential goods throughout the country has also placed a major demand on the nation’s truck drivers.

With the increased need for goods and materials, truckers are under immense pressure to deliver their loads on time. The federal government has responded by temporarily easing many of the long-standing trucking regulations that are designed to make the industry safer.

Here are some of the recent changes that have happened:

Hours of Service Regulations Lifted for Some Truckers

Since the 1930s, Hours of Service regulations have been in place to protect American truck drivers from driving too long without a break. In an unprecedented move that has never been done in the 80+ years since these regulations were enacted, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) eliminated many of these protections for truckers that transport essential goods.

Normally, truckers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours within a 14-hour period before they must take 10 hours off duty. They are also prohibited from working more than 70 hours in an eight-day period. Now, truckers that bring essential goods and supplies can exceed 11 hours of consecutive driving and they can exceed 70 hours of work over eight days, although they are still required to take 10 hours off after delivering their loads.

Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance International Road Check Postponed

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) normally conducts a 3-day blitz inspection of commercial trucks in the US and Canada each year. Tens of thousands of vehicles are usually checked to uncover safety problems with the vehicles and issues with drivers. This year, the CVSA postponed their international road check, which was scheduled for May 5-7, until further notice.

Truck Driver Trainees Can Operate without a CDL

In an effort to prevent a shortage of truckers and keep the supply chains moving, the government is allowing new truck drivers to operate a vehicle without a commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are a couple requirements that must be met, however. The driver in training must have already passed their CDL driving test, and there must also be a CDL-holding driver in the truck with them. This still puts a lot of new and inexperienced truck drivers on the roadways during this time.

The Dangers of Truck Accidents During COVID-19

The government lifting regulations on the trucking industry may have been done with good intentions (i.e., to keep our supply chain going), but it has created a more dangerous situation for motorists. Even during normal times, truckers are under great pressure from trucking companies that impose unrealistic deadlines. But at least these drivers had Hours of Service regulations in place to protect them. With these regulations temporarily lifted for some drivers, there is very little to stop companies from forcing their employees to work for far longer than it is safe to do.

When a truck driver is on the road for too long, there is an increased risk of getting tired or sleepy behind the wheel. To help cope with the situation, some drivers turn to alcohol or other substances to take the edge off. But this only makes the situation worse, because we all know that chemical impairment generally results in the reduced ability to focus and poorer driving decisions.

Another potential problem that is caused by the rush to deliver goods and supplies is speeding and aggressive/reckless driving. Knowing that the government wants truckers to do anything they can to keep our supply chain moving, drivers are more likely to feel justified in exceeding the speed limit and cutting whatever other corners they can. Although this behavior may not be explicitly encouraged, the implication is that it is acceptable because of the extraordinary situation we are dealing with.

All of these factors have heightened the risk of trucking accidents – this is one of the countless unintended consequences of our response to COVID-19. And sadly, these accidents often result in severe and catastrophic injuries and fatalities. We hope that as our country emerges from this pandemic, the trucking industry regulations that have been loosened will be put back into place. If this does not happen, the roadways will be less safe going forward.

Injured in a Commercial Truck Accident? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for Assistance

If you or someone close to you suffered injury in a trucking accident was caused by another party, you deserve to be fully compensated. Truck accident cases are typically very complicated, however, and there are numerous potential contributing factors and several parties that could be responsible. For this reason, it is very important to work with an attorney who has extensive experience with these types of cases.

At Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, we have successfully represented countless individuals who have been injured in truck accidents, and we are not intimidated by large trucking companies and their vast resources. For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, message us online or call us today at 412-391-9860 or toll-free at 866-466-5789. We look forward to serving you!