Just one year ago, no one could have imagined how different our lives would be today. None of us has experienced the fears and restrictions that a novel virus can impose on the world. This has lead many to ask: What does the coronavirus mean for my injury claim?
In the U.S., with limited understanding of this virus and no vaccine to stop its spread, social distancing is the new norm, along with hand washing and mask wearing. At the very least, we know we can stop the spread of COVID-19 through physical barriers. The CDC has issued guidelines that it currently sees as the best ways to stop the spread.
Certainly, we hope to stop the virus with a vaccine in the future, but until then, it is wise to follow precautions out of respect for others and for front-line healthcare workers.
Our offices remain open and we are available to discuss your personal injury claim. We invite you in as we disinfect our offices so you can feel safe meeting here, or we will meet at your convenience including virtual conferences. Please do not let COVID-19 impact your personal injury claim because you are facing a time clock that requires you to file within two years of your date of injury.
We remain committed to representing you whether your personal injury case is an auto, truck, pedestrian, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, workers’ compensation, construction accident, veteran benefits, industrial, or maritime accident.
What has Changed with the Courts?
Facing this COVID challenge, many courts are open to workers, and are planning to be open to the public soon. Our office is still collecting evidence and police reports, conducting depositions, and can file your case at the courthouse in Mobile County.
Courthouses in Georgia continue to operate under restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, however remote hearings and video conferencing are being conducted and civil clerks are processing files full time.
While trials are suspended for the present time, most personal injury cases settle before trial ever begins and we will lay the groundwork to prepare for trial just as we have before this pandemic.
Alabama has stated that its Supreme Court will not suspend any statutory limitations, so you still are required to file your personal injury action in a timely manner. Meanwhile, Georgia’s Supreme Court has extended the statute of limitations and other discovery deadlines.
Seek Medical Care if You Are Injured
If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important that you seek medical treatment and follow through on any recommended therapy, medications, or surgery. The emergency rooms are still open, and your doctor’s office will likely still see patients with additional precautions such as mask wearing and social distancing.
It is not only important to be treated medically for your health and recovery but delaying treatment can have a negative impact on your personal injury claim. We prefer to file a personal injury lawsuit when you have been diagnosed and are receiving care for your injury. That way the true value of your claim can be assessed.
Personal Injury Claims Based on COVID Exposure
While the courts endeavor to get back to normal, personal injury claims based on COVID-19 cases will be impacted.
Normally, the legal theory known as negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims. For example, the driver was not paying attention, the motorcycle was weaving through traffic, or there were safety violations in the workplace.
Since COVID-19, elderly residents of nursing homes have suffered a disproportionate number of deaths due to this contagious virus. Normally a resident of a nursing home will be able to sue if their facility was negligent and did not protect its residents.
However, 15 states have granted protection to nursing homes and care facilities including Alabama and Georgia, shielding them from any liability claims of negligence for causing or allowing COVID-19 to infect or kill residents.
Medical malpractice claims may be more difficult to bring if someone was harmed by the virus, even if the hospital or doctor was negligent.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
As people get back to work, we are seeing more cars and trucks returning to the roads. Pedestrians and bicyclists are still sharing the roads and people are still driving and walking distracted.
The last thing you want to do is delay filing a personal injury claim for any reason. If you have been injured, call Greene & Phillips as soon as you possibly can at 1-888-510-1020 or fill out our free case evaluation, so we can begin the conversation and offer you guidance.