How COVID-19 Affects Your Personal Injury Case

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has sent shockwaves throughout the nation and world, disrupting almost every part of our normal lives. The legal community has not been immune to this, and just as many businesses have undergone a combination of social distancing and telecommuting, attorneys and courts have had to alter their manner of business in a similar fashion. 

Although many aspects of life may have seemed to come to a halt due to COVID-19, many people are unfortunately still being injured due to the fault of another party. Being involved in an accident that causes serious injuries is a frightening experience on its own, but that moment has now been made even more difficult with a higher level of uncertainty due to the global pandemic

If you have been injured, you might be wondering how the pandemic and the resulting access to attorneys and courts might affect your potential personal injury case. There are multiple questions that come to mind: Is it safe to get medical attention? Are insurance companies still paying for personal injury claims? Can I still discuss my case with an attorney? 

You Should Still Seek Medical Attention

With the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak, there is understandable apprehension about visiting a hospital or medical professional for your injuries. People want to limit their potential exposure to the virus, and voluntarily going to a hospital seems as though it would give them a higher chance of contracting the virus. However, if your injuries are severe enough that they should receive immediate medical attention, then you should go to the emergency department and follow whatever distancing and safety protocols that the department has in place. While you may still be hesitant to go, it is vital to receive medical care to prevent worsening the condition of the injury that could result in long-term health issues. 

At this stage of the pandemic, hospitals and other medical facilities have been able to implement proper safety protocols that limit the chances that patients are exposed to the virus. Due to this, the value of getting treatment for your injuries might outweigh the risk of contracting the virus if the injury is serious enough. It is also important to obtain medical records of your injury to enhance your case if you are seeking compensation for your injuries. A lack of medical records could weigh in favor of the defendant in a personal injury case.

If your injury does not require immediate medical attention, you should still call your doctor and explore the different telehealth options that are available. Again, consulting with a doctor is important to avoid long-term health issues and in creating a medical record that could be used to prove the extent of your injuries in a personal injury case.

Insurance Companies During the COVID-19 Outbreak

While many businesses across the nation have been closed due to the pandemic, insurance companies have remained open for the duration. This means that insurance companies are still paying out insurance claims to injured parties. If you are injured due to the fault of another person, you should not hesitate to contact a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney regarding a potential claim.

However, due to the financial hardships caused by the pandemic, many policy holders across the nation that are looking to cut costs are doing so by not paying their insurance premiums. Therefore, insurance companies are receiving less income than they had expected prior to the pandemic. This will lead insurance companies to go to even greater lengths to delay, deny, and undervalue insurance claims. This makes it even more important that you seek medical attention, whether in-person or via a video conference, to obtain the proper medical documentation of your injuries.

As previously mentioned, financial uncertainty is by no means limited to insurance companies. If you have been injured but have also recently lost your source(s) of income due to the pandemic, you might feel increased pressure to settle your case for less than its worth. However, if you are able to find an alternative source of income or use a pre-settlement loan, patience will give you a much better opportunity to receive the full amount of what your case is worth. 

Access to Attorneys

Attorneys have also continued working throughout the pandemic, albeit in a different setting. As discussed below, courts have been closed and hearings have generally been held using teleconferencing technology. However, this does not prevent injury victims from consulting attorneys about their personal injury case. While many physical office locations remain closed, attorneys can be reached 

Attorney Robert Disney understands the gravity of the pandemic and is committed to effectively representing his clients in their personal injury cases during this difficult time. Mr. Disney is open for consultation regarding your personal injury case via phone, video-call, or email, and will work diligently on getting you the full amount you deserve in your case.

Access to the Courts

In March, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania declared a statewide judicial emergency that closed the courts to the public. This order remained in effect until June 1st, however intermediate appellate courts and local courts have also issued administrative orders in response to the pandemic. These orders remain in effect.

The Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania has extended the judicial emergency in Allegheny Country until August 31st. This is what this means for personal injury cases in Allegheny County:

  • Where feasible, courts will use teleconferencing technology to hold hearings. This means that the parties involved in the matter will not be physically in the courtroom. Rather, they will be using Advanced Communication Technology, primarily Microsoft Teams, to video-call into the hearing.
  • If teleconferencing is not feasible, in-person hearings will be held and the parties must adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear masks in the court facilities.
  • Jury trials have been suspended until further notice.
  • It is encouraged that clients should refrain from having non-participants, such as family or friends, accompany them to the court proceeding.

People that enter any court facilities are required to wear masks and must comply with all Center for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Health Department guidelines, or they will be asked to leave the facility. 

Court Delays

With access to courts being drastically limited due to the PA Supreme Court order, the timeline of personal injury cases has been significantly delayed. Allegheny County is also now staggering cases to prevent overcrowding in the courts, and this has the natural result of delaying the timeline for personal injury claims even further. 

In order to not cause even greater delays in your case, it is important to act quickly after your injury. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident in order to get the timeline rolling for your claim. While many courts are now reopening along with other businesses across the nation, the novel coronavirus is still unpredictable, and a potential resurgence of the virus could cause future delays in the court system.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured and are concerned about your options for a personal injury case during the COVID-19 outbreak, you should call attorney Robert Disney today. Mr. Disney is a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania who can get you the compensation to which you are entitled. To schedule a free case evaluation, call or text us today at 412-999-5765 or contact us online at